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And so I closed my eyes and jumped. Among the surprises along the way: We were shocked, even beyond our low expectations, by the poor state of both GM and Chrysler. Looking just at the condition of GM's finances and Chrysler's new-car pipeline, the case for a bailout was weak.
But on the other hand, as we surveyed the interconnected web of finance companies, suppliers, and related businesses, the potential impact of the likely alternative -- liquidation -- stunned us. We imagined that the collapse of the automakers could devastate the Midwest beyond imagination. We were determined not to fail. But as we started down the road, we saw mainly obstacles.