NEW YORK, May 13 (UPI) -- General Motors Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson told graduates at Columbia University Sunday the U.S. "political system is broken."
In his speech to the Ivy League school's Master of Business Administration graduates, Akerson told them the current government is not working properly, The Detroit News reported.
"Some of the institutions that our society relies on are in serious disrepair, if not outright broken," Akerson said. "The Great Recession exposed so much. Our economy was broken and teetered on failure. Our banking system ground to a halt. Our housing market collapsed. Millions of jobs evaporated. Things are improving but complete recovery is a long way off -- and that's, in part, because our political system is broken."
Akerson also said GM was "broken" and nearly shut down in December 2008, only to be saved by a $49.5 billion bailout approved by two presidents.
"GM, a one-time colossus that ruled the corporate world, that set the standard of success for business schools to study, became the case study for failure. GM was broken and nearly died," Akerson said. "Two political parties with vastly different views of the world -- reached for something better than that day's headlines, or that day's tactical advantage. They rose above petulant partisan politics, to serve the greater good."
Akerson urged the graduates to serve the country.
"I urge you to put your country's interests above your own. Get involved in your community. Serve your fellow citizen," he said. "Bring your intellectual firepower, your ambition, and your energy to making America the country we know it can be."