Here is a clip from the story:
The White House says neither General Motors nor Chrysler submitted acceptable plans to receive more bailout money, setting the stage for a crisis in Detroit that would dramatically reshape the nation's auto industry.Question: Why Does Detroit Receive Tough Love, While Banks Are Waiting for the Next Trillion-Dollar Installment?
President Barack Obama and his top advisers have determined that neither company is viable and that taxpayers will not spend untold billions more to keep the pair of automakers open forever. In a last-ditch effort, the administration gave each company a brief deadline to try one last time to convince Washington it is worth saving, said senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to more bluntly discuss the decision. . . .
The White House approach to domestic automobile manufacturers seems rooted in an understanding that market forces have seriously eroded demand for their products and that management has not adequately responded to this reality. With respect to banks, however, the government has proposed tossing another trillion dollars into the very industry that is largely responsible for the global financial and economic collapse.
Based on the banks' culpability in the economic crisis, the better argument would have the White House make stricter demands on banks than automobile manufacturers. The fact that the banking bailouts dwarf the magnitude of federal assistance for Detroit warrants even greater caution regarding the financial sector.
Experts ranging from Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman to famed Merrill Lynch analyst Richard Bernstein have argued that the government should abandon its heavy subsidization of financial institutions and their investors. They believe that the government should instead offer financial institutions a healthy dose of tough love in the form of either nationalization and restructuring (Krugman) or promotion of greater consolidation within the sector, rather than artificially inflating the price of and purchasing toxic assets (Bernstein). Even former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan recently promoted the idea that "It may be necessary to temporarily nationalize some banks in order to facilitate a swift and orderly restructuring.”
The reality that the United Autoworkers union is a leading supporter of President Obama could potentially make the White House approach politically difficult. With that in mind, perhaps this is Obama's way of indirectly pressuring UAW to accept concessions. A tough public stance towards management could likely conceal the government's desire that UAW relent on issues such as compensation and benefits. On the other hand, a public standoff between the White House and labor would be politically damaging.
The cost-cutting and restructuring that the White House has demanded of the automobile manufacturers, however, would likely necessitate sacrifices by labor. Offering tough love to management could send a message to union leaders that they should approach negotiations with greater flexibility. Banks deserve the same type of treatment.
PS: I wrote a related article on this subject after Senator Dodd called for the resignation of automobile industry management earlier this year. Also, it seems others are making similar observations: CEO Change Begs Question About Banks.
Update: Some auto workers believe they are being punished because the public is upset with the banking bailout.