Obama should extend auto industry tough love to banks

Peter Cohan

This morning's news that General Motors Corp. (GM) has 60 days to come up with a new restructuring plan -- coupled with the decision to oust its CEO Rick Wagoner -- suggests a new 'get tough' attitude towards companies that take taxpayer money. While I am not sure that Wagoner deputy Fritz Henderson, who took over as CEO, is the right person to restructure GM, he is at least different.

But the bigger question for the U.S. is whether President Obama's intellectual toughness will extend to the financial industry. Why does the U.S. keep shoveling hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money into zombie banks without requiring them to produce the same kind of viability plan that the administration demands of the auto industry? Throughout the last several months I have continued to find it strange that banks keep getting more and more money with no questions asked while the auto industry has to work much harder to get much less money.