GM's Wagoner: Money Problems Due To 'Burdens Of The Past'

December 05, 2008: 11:50 AM EST

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)
- General Motors Corp. (GM) Chief Executive Rick Wagoner blamed his company's money problems on "burdens of the past," telling lawmakers Friday that retiree health-care and other so-called legacy costs have saddled GM's balance sheet.

Wagoner told members of the House Financial Services Committee that the company's overseas operations are stronger financially than its domestic operations because of pension and retiree health-care costs associated with union contracts in the U.S.

"As we go into new markets, we go in on an unencumbered basis," Wagoner said.

He noted that the company has worked with the United Auto Workers union to significantly reduce those costs in recent years.

-By Josh Mitchell, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-6637; joshua.mitchell@ dowjones.com

-By Corey Boles, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-6601; corey.boles@dowjones.com