Daily Video

June 2, 2009

GM Bankruptcy Changes Lives

NewsHour economics correspondent Paul Solman is in Detroit, talking to a variety of General Motors company stakeholders about how they view General Motors’ recent bankruptcy filing. Instead of selling off the assets and shutting down, GM has chosen file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in which they will downsize and reorganize the company by keeping only its most successful parts, like Chevy and Cadillac. As part of the new plan, the U.S. government will own 60 percent of the new GM while car dealers, autoworkers and bondholders will have a share in the rest of the profits. The Obama administration hopes that reorganization will save a company whose downfall could have a disastrous effect on the American economy. In this video, Paul Solman talks to GM’s stakeholders about how they think the new GM will impact their lives.


“When [future autoworkers] are the watchdogs over our pensions, do you think they’re going to take care of us? Are they going to be their brother’s keeper?” – Bill Carr, United Auto Workers GM retiree “The question is, how do we sell cars? And if management can’t come up with a strategy to sell Pontiacs, we don’t get rid of Pontiac. We get rid of the management.” – Jim Dollinger, Buick car dealer “We believe in General Motors. My husband did tool and die for the big three. No one was ever allowed to park a foreign car in our driveway. We are loyal to our, you know, big three.” Judy Buchholtz, GM Bondholder

Warm Up Questions

1. What does “Buy American” mean?

2. Why are some people passionate about “Buying American”?

3. How important is it to you to buy items made in America?

Discussion Questions

1. Why are the autoworkers interviewed in this story angry?

2. Who do you blame for the failure of General Motors?

3. When a large company like GM is in financial trouble, how do their problems affect ordinary Americans? 4. How could GM’s bankruptcy impact your community? 5. The American government is using taxpayer money to buy 60 percent of GM. Critics argue that the U.S. government should not have such a large stake in private industry. Do you agree that it is necessary to help GM survive? Why or why not?

Additional Resources

Read the transcript

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