Two car companies – Toyota and GM – some of whose vehicles are having engineering problems serious enough to be a safety risk and require massive recalls. One is investigated by Congress and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration while the other is not … until very recently, that is. Toyota, the company that did face government investigation and sanctions is, of course, not even an “American” corporation. GM is. And was, for a time, a ward of the state.
So, could one suspect that GM was given a pass? As Liz Peek of the Fiscal Times writes:
Why would the Obama administration sanction such a tough crackdown on Toyota, while leaving GM in peace? Certainly, the White House wanted GM to succeed. Having handed out $86 billion in bailouts to GM, Chrysler and GMAC, Cash for Clunkers, the Warranty Commitment program, the Supplier Support program, $41.5 billion in TALF loans for auto finance companies, loans from the DOE for electric car development, Recovery Act funding for battery makers and research monies funneled though the Advanced Research Projects agency, the White House had gone all-in on the success of Detroit.
Self interest is a powerful motivator and the political stakes must certainly have seemed high to the administration. And, as Ms. Peek notes, the record is not encouraging.
… after the IRS targeting of right-wing groups, the manipulation of jobs numbers by census workers, the misleading accounts of the Benghazi tragedy and the deceptive marketing of Obamacare ... Anything seems possible.
Household debt jumped once again to $2.7 trillion, according to the New York Fed. "[T]he Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced that in the third quarter, non-real estate household debt jumped 2.3 percent to $2.7 trillion," reports the fed. "The increase was due to a boost in student loans ($42 billion), auto loans ($18 billion) and credit card balances ($2 billion)."
The auto bailout debate, already a triumph of narrative over reality, took another turn for the absurd last week as both presidential campaigns exchanged salvos over what amounted to a misunderstanding about Chrysler's plan to build Jeeps in China.
Former Obama administration official Steven Rattner said on MSNBC that Jennifer Granholm "must have had some medications or something in her system" when she addressed the Democratic convention last month:
Earlier today on the campaign trail, Vice President Joe Biden said, "I'd trade being vice-president in a heartbeat for having won Daytona." The comment was made to an owner of a stock car that won Daytona. Via the pool report:
The Detroit Free Press reports that “General Motors made $1 billion in the first quarter, beating analysts’ expectations before being dragged down by a special accounting-related $590-million charge in struggling Europe.”
So now they have gone and politicized the Super Bowl ads. Have they no shame?
Everyone is familiar with the Chrysler spot that has Clint Eastwood walking ominously dark streets, talking about how America is down and hurting, but we’ve been here before and this is just halftime. We will be coming back. Included in that “we” is “the Motor City,” because this is a commercial about Chrysler cars, which are built in Detroit (by a company that is mostly Italian-owned but never mind).