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Opinion
Chris Bryant

Ford Gets Left at the Lights By General Motors

Job cuts aren’t always the right thing to do, and they’re always painful, but Ford’s CEO is looking strategically lethargic next to Mary Barra.

General Motors has made its big move. How does Ford respond?

General Motors has made its big move. How does Ford respond?

Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America

If you’ve read Amy Goldstein’s searing account of the shuttering of a car plant (“Janesville”), you’ll know it’s a decision that has lasting human consequence. So while I wasn’t surprised that investors cheered on General Motors Co.’s announcement that it will close seven plants and cut 15 percent of the workforce, the plaudits still felt cold. Capitalism doesn’t do compassion very well.  

Cutting jobs so soon after the American taxpayer prevented GM from going under also seems ungrateful. That GM has spent $25 billion on dividends and share repurchases over the past five years doesn’t exactly improve the optics.