Bankruptcy for one or more major carmakers as a solution to the current automotive downturn has been widely reviled as the worst possible alternative for the carmakers themselves and the industry, and economy, in general. But now the White House has revealed that a structured bankruptcy for General Motors and Chrysler is one of the paths it is considering.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino stated it simply: “There’s an orderly way to do bankruptcy that provides more of a soft landing. This is one of the options.” While the statement itself is clear enough, exactly what an 'orderly bankruptcy' might look like is an altogether less obvious matter.

So far the White House is not committing to either a timeline or a decision, but it has said that an aid package is "very close," reports the Detroit Free Press.

The fear of bankruptcy as a solution stems from the effect it would have in creating secondary and tertiary bankruptcies that would cascade through GM and Chrysler's supplier networks. And since most of the U.S. auto industry - including foreign carmakers - use the same core of suppliers, the repercussions could turn out to be global.

How, exactly, an 'orderly' bankruptcy would avoid these pitfalls at a lower cost to the American taxpayer is the mystery waiting to be revealed, though the White House has taken pains to point out that it has made no decisions yet.