On Sunday night, the trials and tribulations of GM were featured on the CBS show Sixty Minutes. Never ones to let the facts get in the way of a good story (remember the debacle over Bush’s National Guard record) Sixty Minutes is well known as the National Enquirer of network news. This chart shows CBS’ Earnings Per Share over the last ten years.
In the course of the show, a CBS hack by the name of Steve Kroft made inane statements and lobbed inane questions at GM executives. The GM execs volleyed equally inane answers back at him. When it was over, I could only wonder exactly how much advertising GM does on CBS to have Sixy Minutes do a feature piece on them without having the words "Toyota" or "manufacturing" ever come up. It seems pretty clear to me why CBS and GM are rapidly going broke and have equally rotten reputations for lousy quality.
An example of the biting investigative reporting CBS vomited into living rooms across America is that health care is "a cost most of GM’s foreign competitors don’t have because their workers are usually covered by some form of government health insurance in their own countries." That is the first I heard of that. Did any of you folks know that the Toyota workers in Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana and California; or the Honda workers in Ohio – the auto workers who are eating GM’s lunch – all have health insurance paid for by the nation of Japan? I wonder how hard it is for them to find doctors 6,000 miles out of their provider network? So much for Sixty Minutes probing, in-depth rooting out of the facts.
This is a chart of GM’s EPS over the last ten years. The obvious reason GM was willing to talk to CBS is that CBS is one of the few companies in America (other than the GM branch office a few miles north of World Headquarters commonly known as Delphi) that are performing worse than they are. Standing next to a Sixty Minutes reporter, the GM execs look wise by comparison; and all this time I didn’t think it was possible to make Bob Lutz look good.
If you missed it – you missed nothing. In fact, I’m sorry I took up so much of your time telling you about it.
The charts, however, are very slick – I got them from Morningstar. They are a great source of information and they are decent folks – they even overlook my occasional plagarism. You ought to check them out.