Friday, April 23, 2010

A Good Time to be in the Car Business

Will we ever see US automakers regain their status as King of the Car Makers?  Will they be able to shake the stigma of begging for hand-outs from Uncle Sam, or the staggering weight of bloated union contracts?

Looking in today's paper, there was a full-page ad from GM, touting their repayment of billions of taxpayer dollars.  Plus interest!  Damn!

I received this nice email yesterday, a warm and friendly reminder that GM has repaid its debt to the government, in full, and five years ahead of schedule:

Yesterday's AP post reveals a bit more than GM or Washington would like folks to know.  GM is still losing money, although not nearly as fast as they were.  And they are still 61% owned by the government (US and Canada) to the tune of a $45.3B investment by taxpayers.

Of course, the White House and the Treasury took no time to pat themselves on the back, beaming with pride at their success.  Joe Biden showered Obama with praise for his tough stance on the highly unpopular auto bailouts.  Tim Geithner was quick to point out how encouraging it was to see GM on a "strong path towards viability."

Yes, it looks like this is a good time to be in the car business - especially with the government propaganda machine running full throttle.  Taken at face value, it would seem that the economic recovery Washington claims we are now experiencing is indeed here.

Imagine my surprise when, the very next day, this newsworthy tidbit was revealed:  GM used Treasury funds to repay its loan.  More specifically, the Treasury put a tidy sum of the TARP funds into an escrow for just such an occasion.

Somebody has some 'splainin to do.  Ever wonder why the accountants can't actually account for all of the TARP money?  Might there be any more of these little "rainy day" funds lying around?  It will be interesting to see how Obama and company tries to pin this one on Bush.

It seems this entire debacle was just a cheap publicity stunt, another Team Obama dog and pony show.  Positive signs of a sound economy would certainly go a long way in helping Democrats in the 2010 elections.

It's a real shame that, without any real recovery to show for his efforts, Obama has to create the illusion of one.  If he would just put the same effort into helping our country recover, rather than to radically re-make it, the majority of the country might not distrust and despise him nearly as much.

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