In the latest development of The Incomprehensible Union, General Motors is reportedly asking the U.S. government for $10 billion -- on top of the $25 billion loan approved recently -- to help it merge with Chrysler. The supplemental infusion would give the government, i.e. you and me, a stake in the merged company in the form of preferred stock, would see the government taking over pension obligations and provide a credit line for operations.
The government is weighing the request since it's likely that no federal official wants to be on the watch that saw the instantaneous vaporizing of two American icons and hundreds of thousands of jobs. The government has asked that as many jobs as possible be spared, and GM said "Sure!" Yet for a merger where cost savings and redundancy elimination have been the headlines, we don't know why anyone believes GM-Chrysler wouldn't jettison a whole bunch of the 11 brands, 10,000 dealers, and 100,000 union jobs. And that's just for starters.
Which is one of the (many) reasons we still don't understand the GM-Chrysler union. The additional $10 billion we can swallow -- after all, the government spends much more than that on projects that could be considered far more dubious than trying to save an astronomical number of jobs and businesses. And we know what Cerberus gets from the deal. We'd like to find out what the GM guys see that makes this merger attractive... other than the fact that Chrysler has $11 billion in cash.