Years ago then-Senator Barack Obama proposed that the U.S. government take over the health care obligations of retired American automakers in exchange for higher fuel economy standards. At the time I thought this was a great proposal because it was clear then that the U.S. government was going to take over those obligations eventually because the automakers were a mess.
I didn't think the U.S. government was going to take over the automakers themselves. Since GM just came out of bankruptcy, now is a good time to consider if what actually happened is a better outcome than what Senator Obama proposed. I suspect that had the US acted on assuming health care and pension obligations we would have avoided taking over the companies, and potentially could have saved GM from itself.