Cavuto And Bowyer On Barra, GM, DC, And Responsibility
In hearings before congress about a series of component failures which are reported to have contributed to the deaths of 13 people, Barra repeatedly said that she takes responsibility for the problem and then went on to refuse to answer any substantive questions about the problem. It seems like another Inigo Montoya Moment: “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Just to be clear, the word ‘responsibility’ comes from the Latin respons, which you don’t have to be a classics major to suspect means something about responding to questions. Sure, there’s an inquiry, but hiding behind it is a classic PR manipulation tool. Inquiries are supposed to be about getting answers that you don’t currently have, not about giving an excuse for not giving the answers you already do have until the story loses momentum.
It’s as old as human nature. Confronted after having stolen and eaten the forbidden fruit, Adam’s defense was pure blame shifting: “The woman you gave me, she gave me the fruit and I did eat.” So, I suppose it’s not surprise that a CEO of a company with blood on its hands would look for a fig leaf to hide behind.
But before we turn to DC to solve the problem, we should note that they seem to have been a contributor to the problem. Loose tort laws incentivize companies to hide mistakes. And don’t forgot that during much of this time the government was the largest owner of GM under the Bush/’Bama bailout/nationalization. A politicized NHTSA averted its gaze from the unionized/government-favored domestic company, while throwing the book at non-unionized, foreign-owned Toyota… and bragging about it.
No, it is the entire ruling class which has failed to take responsibility. It’s time to turn away from crony capitalism and capital cronyism and distribute power in such a way in which leaders have to actually live with the consequences of their decisions, and when they fail to, actually have to give an answer.
To watch my discussion with Neil Cavuto, click here.
Article originally published on Forbes.com.