Have you heard the new joke? GM has a new name. It no longer stands for General Motors. GM now means “Government Motors.”

Funny, but — not true. The federal government did not take over General Motors.

What is true is that President Obama told GM that the plan they came up with to restructure the company was no good. We’ll give you 60 days, and more money, to come up with a better plan, said Obama — but only if CEO Rick Wagoner steps down. And Wagoner agreed.

Tough treatment for GM? Yes, but well-deserved. After all, GM was asking for another 17 billion in taxpayer dollars. There’s no way Obama could trust that much money, our money, with the man who drove GM into the ditch in the first place.

So, in effect, President Obama has set a new rule. Which is this: If you’re going to get a government handout, we taxpayers have a right to demand new executive leadership.

Obama first applied that test to Detroit, which got some $20 billion in bailouts. Now he should apply the same test to Wall Street, which demanded $700 billion in bailouts.

Rick Wagoner shouldn’t be the only CEO to lose his job. Several Wall Street bankers should be next.


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