Today, a Swedish court approved an application to restructure carmaker Saab under the protection of Sweden’s bankruptcy laws.  The General Motors subsidiary will now undergo a reorganization resembling one under our Chapter 11.  Said Jan Ake Jonsson, Saab’s managing director, “It was determined a formal restructuring would be the best way to create a truly independent entity that is ready for investment.”

Is that so?  Perhaps he should have a conversation with his boss, Rick Wagoner, who continually maintains bankruptcy is not a good idea for vehicle companies.  Says the General Motors chief, “We don’t have any strategy or plan to file for bankruptcy.”

Of course that’s right – General Motors does not have a plan for anything other than accepting more Federal money.  On Tuesday, it asked for a $16.4 billion “loan,” a sum on top of the $13.4 billion approved in December.  And it will undoubtedly ask for more funds soon because, among other things, Americans are not buying vehicles, the United Auto Workers is not making meaningful concessions, bondholders are intransigent, and GM’s managers are idiots.  Today, David Brooks, in a column entitled “Money for Idiots,” writes that “sometimes you have to shower money upon those who have been foolish or self-indulgent.”  Maybe that’s right, but, as Saab showed us today, there are alternatives to enormous and inadequate bailouts.  Oh, almost forgot: Saab’s bankruptcy filing immediately followed a rejection from the Swedish government for a bailout.

So perhaps we should conclude that what’s good for Saab is also good for General Motors.  And that, by the way, would also be good for the United States.

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