Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My advice to GM retirees: take the lump sum and run! Run like the wind!

General Motors, because of its White House-inspired abrogation of bankruptcy law, never really fixed its various contract problems with the unions. Its costs remain too high to be truly competitive and it has bound itself to the federal government -- in classic, crony-capitalistic style -- to produce useless electric paperweights like the Chevy Volt.

The result is as you might expect. GM's stock price continues to slide while its accounting skulduggery escalates to paper over the shortfalls.

Of all curious correlations we could find to demonstrate the collapse in GM stock, which opened for trade back in November 2010 at $35, and just hit an all time post-IPO low at just over half its IPO price, the best one that exemplifies the second great collapse of GM is the amount of dealer inventory, aka channel stuffing, shown on an inverted axis: the lower the price of GM, the more the channel stuffing.

Of course, nobody could have possibly predicted that.

In related news, GM is also trying to deal with its exorbitant pensions which hang over it like a dark cloud. Many of GM's former employees have extremely rich pensions that remain in-force: GM is now offering to buy them out with a lump sum payment or promise them a steady monthly income stream instead.

For weeks, John and Kathy Matthews have agonized over the choice: accept $818,000 in a lump sum from General Motors to buy out Mr. Matthews’s pension or keep collecting a check of $4,854 a month...

...Although G.M. won’t put it quite so directly, by Mr. Matthews’s math, the company predicted that he would live for another 21 years and used that estimate to come up with the $818,000 offer.

Based on the economic realities confronting a company that never really fixed the endemic problems that led to its bankruptcy, I think I'd choose the former.

Because more government bailouts ain't in the cards for GM.

1 comment:

Barry Popik said...

GM today is worth $29 billion. The bailout was $49.5 billion. This isn't a constitutional government. This is crony capitalism madness and taxpayer rape.

With all Obama's talk about "insourcing," does everyone realize that GM is really a Chinese car company now?