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I guess I misunderstood the June 1deadline for General Motors to get all its restructuring plans approved.

Silly me, I thought that was a deadline to

avoid

bankruptcy. Turns out it was the deadline to

apply

for bankruptcy.

All that business about getting bondholders and the United Auto Workers to agree to a restructuring plan was just a way of getting everything ready for the court.

What a let down. I was on pins and needles there last week, thinking GM was seriously trying to avert a court-managed restructuring. All those last-minute deals with the UAW and bondholders provided a lot of drama, but the director of this tragicomedy had other ideas. You know who I mean. The "director" of this staged bankruptcy drama has been President Obama.

That's good film making, using a little misdirection to set things up for the surprising next scene, and I fell for it. I really believed there was a chance of avoiding bankruptcy and that everyone would be better off outside the courts.

I thought maybe GM could follow the example of rival

Ford

(F) - Get Report

, and preserve as much value as possible for those who've stuck with the company through the hard times - the shareholders who've lost most of the value of their investments and the bondholders who are getting shortchanged.

I knew this was possible. Everyone seemed to think it was inevitable. Yet I had hoped that the Obama administration and the folks at GM might really be trying to avoid bankruptcy. After all, there was no push to get

AIG

(AIG) - Get Report

,

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

or

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

to reorganize under bankruptcy pressure.

The financial firms have all been given more breaks and more time. Not so for the carmakers.

I guess it could be worse for GM -- at least the company isn't being chopped up and sold to an Italian rival.

That's Chrysler's fate with Fiat.

Hall is the editor of

TheStreet.com

. Previously, he served as deputy editor and chief innovation officer at

The Orange County Register

and as a news manager at

Bloomberg News

in Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Washington, D.C. As a reporter, he covered business and financial markets, worked in both print and television in the U.S. and Europe, and conducted in-depth investigative coverage at

The Journal-Gazette

in Fort Wayne, Ind. His work also has been published in a variety of newspapers including

The Wall Street Journal

,

The New York Times

and

International Herald Tribune

. Hall received a bachelor�s degree in journalism and political science from The Ohio State University and has taken graduate management science courses at Boston University.