Saturday, November 29, 2008

G.M. Answers Romney

Re “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” (Op-Ed, Nov. 19):

I noticed the Boston dateline on Mitt Romney’s article advocating bankruptcy for Detroit’s auto industry. From his New England home, Mr. Romney may not realize how much the industry has changed since 1969, when his father, George W. Romney, left Michigan to become housing and urban development secretary.

Nearly every recommendation Mitt Romney makes for United States automakers has already been undertaken by current management in Detroit. Automakers have been investing in the future on the order of $12 billion a year in research and development — second only to the semiconductor industry.

In addition, General Motors has cut $9 billion in structural costs since 2005 and last year reached a landmark agreement to transfer the delivery of health care to the United Auto Workers union.

Finally, it is inappropriate of Mr. Romney to invoke Walter Reuther’s name while advocating using bankruptcy to break union contracts. That reference may be overlooked in Boston but surely not in Detroit.

Steve Harris
Vice President
Global Communications
General Motors
Detroit, Nov. 20, 2008
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