Former General Motors Corp. (GM) President Charles Wilson once famously quipped, "What's good for General Motors is good for America." That statement was made in the 1950s, when GM's dominance of the automotive world was unquestioned. Things have changed quite a bit since then, of course, though the saying still holds true in a strange way. Now, instead of celebrating national industrial strength, high profits and a well-paid workforce, the phrase calls up a desperate kind of hope that the U.S. and its core manufacturers can recover.
Today's announcement that that 7,500 UAW members at GM are taking buyouts brings that new paradigm to mind. "We're pleased," GM spokesman Tony Sapienza told Bloomberg News. "This is a significant milestone in progress in our restructuring plan."