Can billions in aid save the Big 3?

As expected, General Motors Corp (NYSE: GM) and Chrysler LLC came with their hats in hand to the federal government seeking an additional $14 billion in additional aid to avoid bankruptcy. More help to the beleaguered industry probably will be needed before the end of the year, particularly if Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) seeks government help as well.

General Motors Co., which is struggling with double-digit monthly vehicle sales declines and crushing debt load, also announced that it would slash 47,000 workers (19 percent of its workforce), shutter five plants in North America and cut its line up of brands in half.