Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Opinion

April 3, 2014

Taxpayers deserve better from GM

GLASGOW — Few thoughts are more terrifying than the notion that a major American corporation might have knowingly placed customers in harm’s way in an effort to avoid costly corrective measures. But that’s the allegation General Motors CEO Mary Barra defended the company against in hearings this week in Washington regarding a flaw in millions of vehicles that has been linked to more than a dozen deaths.

There’s no debate that GM’s failure to fix the cheap, defective ignition switch was a tragic error. Whether the problem was intentionally ignored or criminally covered up – as some lawmakers on Capitol Hill suggested this week – is a question Americans deserve to have answered.

In December, the final federally owned shares of GM were sold, meaning the automaker is no longer under taxpayer ownership. But the company owes its existence to billions of bailout dollars it received in the late 2000s. Without that aid, GM was on the verge of liquidation.

Who knows if the public will ever hear a full explanation for GM’s decision not to recall the defective vehicles. It’s disturbing, though, that a company that owes the taxpayers its life might have played fast and loose with theirs.

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