Earlier this week General Motors formerly announced that it had filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy but the truth of the matter is that the struggling automaker’s downfall was predicted years ago and it has only managed to survive up until now on the back of government handouts. According to latest comments from former vice president Dick Cheney, the Bush administration was well aware of GM’s troubles and knew the automaker should have entered bankruptcy back when it was in power but decided to let the issue slide until after a new president was sworn in.

During an interview on Fox News last Tuesday, Cheney revealed that during his presidency George W. Bush did not want to be the one who “pulled the plug” on GM.

“I thought that, eventually, the right outcome was going to be bankruptcy,” Cheney said, referring to GM. “It had to go through such a dramatic restructuring to have any chance of survival that they had to be able to renegotiate labor contracts and so forth, and the president decided that he did not want to be the one who pulled the plug just before he left office.”

Cheney said that rather than acting on GM, the Bush administration “put together a package that tided GM over until the new administration had a chance to look at it.” This included the original $17.4 billion auto industry bailout package signed in by the Bush administration late last year, which was designed to give the incoming Obama administration some time to adjust and make preparations for the inevitable GM bankruptcy.

GM is expected to emerge from its ongoing bankruptcy in about 60 to 90 days as a separate New GM, of which 60.8% will be owned by the U.S. government. The restructured company will also be responsible for approximately $17 billion in total consolidated debt, as opposed to the $172 odd billion the old GM was servicing.