Remember the joke about GM becoming Government Motors? Guess what!
A few years ago, a blog for the socialist left in Canada known as The Bullet published a commentary by U.S. activist Chris Kutalik under the headline “Make GM Government Motors Again.” The mention of “again” was a reference to the 2009 Obama administration’s US$80-billion bailout of the U.S. auto industry.
Ottawa and the province of Ontario chipped in with a $13.5-billion purchase of shares in the bankrupt Canadian branches of GM and Chrysler, eventually selling back to the companies in 2015 at a loss of about $3 billion.
Elimination of the bailout debt in the U.S. and Canada was lamented on the anti-capitalist left as a lost opportunity to win a “socialized makeover of GM” by maintaining government control of the enterprise. Jobs could be guaranteed.
Wages held high. Executive pay could be frozen at nine-times the worker average. Most of all, a state-controlled GM “could also lean into the Green New Deal” goal of plugging GM and the other automakers into the electric vehicle market. Electrifying GM Canada and the other automakers became a key strategy of the autoworkers union under then Unifor leader Jerry Dias.