Not much good can come of a General Motors ( GM)bankruptcy as far as shareholders are concerned. Stockholders bear most of the risk when companies go down this path. Employees and unions tend to get hammered as well. It's the most brutal way to force a company to change. It's supposed to be the option of last resort. So the fact that President Obama is even talking about a prepackaged bankruptcy option for General Motors and Chrysler suggests he holds little hope for the automakers to come up with a viable restructuring plan, despite giving them one last chance. This is good poker. No one can know for sure whether Obama is bluffing, and the carmakers, their unions, dealers, bondholders and shareholders only have one more hand to play. They better dig deep. Bondholders may have to accept a debt-for-equity swap to reduce the $27 billion in corporate debt they hold over General Motors. Shareholders need to prepare for the dilution that will cause. And unions need to brace for reductions in the health care and retirement benefits they have demanded over the years. Most of the discussion centers on GM. So where does that leave Chrysler and its private equity owner Cerberus Capital Management, which bought an 80% stake in the company back in 2007? Well, they are shareholders after all and bankruptcy may not be kind to them either. Ford ( F) is another company whose name isn't really coming up in this context. Wisely, Ford decided to take matters into its own hands in order to avoid entanglements with the government. However, a bankruptcy reorganization of General Motors and Chrysler might actually put Ford on weaker footing.