Roger Lowenstein writes,

But none of G.M.’s management miscues was so damaging to its long-term fate as the rich pensions and health care that robbed General Motors of its financial flexibility and, ultimately, of its cash.

Whether General Motors was truly done in by its worker benefits is debatable, as Mark Thoma points out.

But if making extravagant commitments on pensions and health care can get you in trouble, I can think of an organization a lot bigger than General Motors to worry about.