In 1953, at a closed-door Congressional confirmation hearing, GM President Charles Wilson acknowledged his habitual equation of his employer’s profit-making endeavors with the overall welfare of the society in which it was based. Asked if he could even imagine a conflict between these two phenomena, Wilson, via a leaked transcript, infamously admitted he did not and could not:
I cannot conceive of one because for years I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa. The difference did not exist. Our company is too big. It goes with the welfare of the country. Our contribution to the Nation is quite considerable.
Wilson’s shift of tenses reveals that, even among cronies, he knew there was something troubling in the equation. Yet he did shift squarely back to the present tense in his final sentence: We are big, so you will take what you get.
Despite the smoldering times, this elite equation of car corporations with the national interest has not altered one iota since 1953.
Here, indeed, is what new Ford CEO Jim Farley unashamedly told Automotive News today:
We have an important job to do not only for Ford but for our country and for the Ford family.
You see? Ford = Ford family (major stockholders) = United States.
So, as always, run that up your flagpole, folks.