BTS 6/1/09: GM Bankruptcy; CA Budget Crisis; Healthcare Reform

Listen: Play - Download

General Motors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today. The federal government will have a majority ownership stake and Treasury will kick in 30 billion with another 9.5 billion to come from Canada. GM's bankruptcy filing is the fourth-largest in U.S. history and the largest for an industrial company. Nelson Lichtenstein joins us to talk about the crisis in auto, the government solution, what Walter Reuther (and bold union leaders) would have done and SHOULD do. He says “Autoworkers should meet this crisis as they have in the past: boldly and visibly.” Indeed, with the government and the union owning nearly 90 percent of GM common stock, it is time to think boldly and progressively about how to restructure some of America's greatest manufacturing companies. They are far too important to be left in the hands of a generation of discredited managers and Wall Street speculators.

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and  LA Times columnist Michael A. Hiltzik  joins us to discuss the budget crisis in California and the solutions neither Governor Schwarzenegger nor the legislature are proposing. Hiltzik says the governor has lied about the nature of the crisis and ignores the real solutions. He says that California is not ungovernable -- it's just been ungoverned. As for the next gubernatorial election – Hiltzik calls for some ‘profiles in courage.’ We’ll ask him what he has in mind.

And finally on tonight’s Beneath The Surface we talk to Robert Borosage of the Campaign for America’s Future. They unveiled an ambitious campaign today bringing together an impressive array of progressive groups slated to spend more than $82 million to ensure quality health care reform passes this year.  He joins us to explain.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Nelson Lichtenstein teaches history at UCSB where he directs of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy. His latest book is Sam’s World: Wal-Mart and 21st Century Capitalism (Univ of Pennsylvania Press); his others include State of the Union: A Century of American Labor; and Walter Reuther: The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit (Basic Books).

2. Michael A. Hiltzik is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and columnist who has been a staff member of the Los Angeles Times for more than 20 years. In that time he has worked as a financial and political writer, a foreign correspondent serving in Africa and Russia, and as a senior technology writer. Currently he writes the twice-weekly column “Golden State,” covering a wide range of business and economic issues relevant to life in California. He is the author of the book Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age, and A Death in Kenya. He was a finalist for two Pulitzer Prizes: in explanatory journalism for his coverage of the managed care revolution in California, and in deadline reporting for his coverage of the merger of ABC/Capital Cities and The Walt Disney Co.

3. Robert Borosage is the president of the Institute for America’s Future and co-director of its sister organization, the Campaign for America’s Future. Borosage also helped to found and chairs the Progressive Majority Political Action Committee. He writes widely on political, economic and national security issues for a range of publications including The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He is a Contributing Editor at The Nation magazine, and a regular contributor to The American Prospect magazine. He is a frequent commentator on television and radio, including Fox Morning News, RadioNation, National Public Radio, C-SPAN and Pacifica Radio. He teaches on presidential power and national security as an adjunct professor at American University’s Washington School of Law.