Remember when

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

said that the initial $13.4 billion bridge loan and the separate help for its GMAC lending arm would cover its worst-case scenario?

That's what executives outlined to Congress in their December plea for help and a company spokesman later confirmed in comments to

Bloomberg News

that the cash infusion would

meet GM's needs.

. All the financial media, including

, jumped on that story. It seemed like good news at a time when there was so little good news around.

Then GM's President Fritz Henderson later said in January that the company was scaling back its outlook for car sales to be "conservative about our assumptions." Not conservative enough, apparently.

Now GM says the worst-case scenario is worse than expected and it may need

more than $30 billion

in loans from the government. That's pretty much an admission of failure. A $30 billion failure.

You've got to give GM CEO Rick Wagoner credit for having the nerve to come back again asking for more money. Some nerve. He's run the company into the ground and he wants taxpayer money to fix his problems. And in return for the favor, he's going to put 47,000 taxpayers out of work.

Don't forget to factor those unemployment costs into the IOU, Rick.

I feel bad for the GM employees whose management failed them so miserably. I know people whose livelihoods depend on those jobs -- or used to. Some will defend Wagoner and his executive team, saying the economic plight of our nation is to blame, and they did the best they could.

Poppycock. They mismanaged the company. They took their eyes off the road, missed the turn and crashed.

If it weren't for all the auto jobs at stake (those that remain, that is) and all the retirees, suppliers and dealerships; if it weren't so embarrassing to see an icon of American industry on its knees; if it weren't for the desperation we feel about our economy, we'd let GM fail because we don't reward incompetence in America.

Well, we didn't used to.

Hall is the editor of

. 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


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.