It seems somehow appropriate that GM will end up with nearly $11B in pension liabilities as Delphi declares bankruptcy, seeing as how the 1999 spin-off in hindsight now looks to be doomed from its very beginnings. Forcing Delphi to take on nearly 50,000 UAW workers freed GM of those worker's obligations on its balance sheet, making things look ever so slightly better (GM still ended up borrowing nearly $20B in 2003 to cover obligations relating to its remaining workforce). But if GM, with nearly $200B/year in annual sales couldn't cover the obligations to those workers, why would it be possible for an enterprise 1/10th the size to do any better? The fact that there's a 2007 deadline for GM's exposure to any risk in a Delphi bankruptcy indicates that, six years ago, it was probably thought that things could coast along past that cut-off. So, now the next big question looms - what will this do to GM's precarious financial situation? That will play itself out in the upcoming months, I suspect.
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