SIGTARP: Excessive Pay at Bailed-Out GM

GM money bagsA special inspector general report on compensation for executives at General Motors and Ally Financial blasts the Treasury Department for allowing excessive pay at the companies as taxpayers lost billions of dollars on the auto bailouts. The watchdog group issuing the report monitors the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which was set up to save financial corporations deemed “too big to fail” due to systemic risk to America’s financial system. The program was expanded to allow for the bailing out of the auto industry, despite the questionable use of funds specifically designated for financial institutions.

A NY Times piece states that the report criticizes the Treasury Department for loosening restrictions on TARP program pay limitations as follows:

Top executives at General Motors and Ally Financial, both of which received bailouts from the United States Treasury Department in 2009, were paid excessively even as taxpayers lost money, according to a special

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Will Nissan Abandon Its $1.4B Stimulus-Backed Battery Factory?

Ghosn photoReuters sources inside Nissan are saying the production of batteries in Tennessee for the all-electric Leaf, which stimulus-subsidizing U.S. taxpayers backed with a $1.4 billion loan, could be eliminated.

According to the report, at minimum there is sharp debate over whether the company will continue to manufacture electric vehicle batteries in-house or contract with an outside supplier. Nissan partner Renault, which has 43.4 percent shareholder ownership in the joint company, is said to be pushing for outsourcing battery production – possibly to LG Chem. None who revealed the information were identified for the Reuters story.

“We set out to be a leader in battery manufacturing but it turned out to be less competitive than we’d wanted,” said a Nissan executive to Reuters, on condition of anonymity. “We’re still between six months and a year behind LG in price-performance terms.”

If they’re really thinking about a move … Read More ➡

Paulson Shovels More Alarmist Manure at NYC Climate Confab

Henry PaulsonGlobal warming is the current issue that will be forgotten again next week, but while the watermelons demonstrated in New York City where President Obama spoke at the Climate Summit at the United Nations, former Bush (II) Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson ran his mouth at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting.

A Republican that leftists turn to for a good “enviro-kumbaya” session came through with the rhetoric again this week. Most recently known for his partnership with statists Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg in the shame-the-capitalists effort called “Risky Business,” Paulson delivered a financial market parallelism on climate change that any Occupy Wall Streeter would be proud of.

On what seemed to be a randomly assembled panel of non-experts that also included the Rockefeller Foundation’s Judith Rodin and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt (famous for the selfies she took with President Obama at Nelson Mandela’s memorial), Paulson … Read More ➡

Does NHTSA Protect the Public, or GM and UAW?

David FriedmanThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) faced some of its heaviest criticism to date last week on Capitol Hill. Hearings addressing the failings of the agency were headed by Senator Claire McCaskill and centered around NHTSA’s part in General Motors’ deadly ignition switch recall delay. The death toll (currently at 20) continues to rise as a result of GM and NHTSA allowing the dangerously defective vehicles to remain on the roads for about 10 years from when the problem was first recognized. While the criticism of NHTSA is well-deserved, it is past time for harsh words to be accompanied by an overhaul of the agency.

Senator McCaskill has stated that an overhaul is exactly what she intends to accomplish according to a NY Times report on the hearings. From that piece:

In an interview after the hearing, Ms. McCaskill vowed to continue working on legislation to overhaul the

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Tesla Soaks Nevada for $1.3B in Corporate Welfare; Just the Beginning

Tesla logoThere was little doubt that once CEO Elon Musk and Tesla announced they would locate their electric vehicle battery “Gigafactory” in Nevada, that Silver State lawmakers would vote in a special legislative session to support targeted tax breaks and incentives – even at the breathtaking amount of $1.3 billion.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, the courter, would have appeared an extreme fool if he didn’t already have the political backing needed for the deal. But there were other mini-surprises: Unanimity at the legislature; four separate bills passed to construct the package; and benefits enjoyed by other industries in Nevada that were rescinded to help with the Tesla payoff.

“This is obviously an historic and exciting day for our great state,” said Democrat state Sen. Justin Jones from Las Vegas.

Just imagine how Nevada lawmakers would feel if they won the heart of a real automobile company, like Texas just didRead More ➡

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Must Resign

Roger GoodellNational Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell should resign or be fired. Goodell either saw, or should have seen, the elevator video of Baltimore Raven running back Ray Rice clocking his fiancé.

Goodell’s should be KO’ed by this episode. It would be an appropriate irony. Domestic violence is a serious issue. Goodell has jumped on a number of causes where there is far less consensus either within the NFL or society at large. He has obligated the NFL to politically correct stances on issues that seem to reflect his personal political beliefs.

If the NFL is truly “America’s Game,” it should not involve itself in divisive social issues. Everyone should feel welcome to attend a game or watch on TV. But Goodell has decided that the NFL is going to be a vehicle to advance gay rights, notwithstanding the hoards of kids who watch football.  The advertising on NFL is already … Read More ➡

Obama Silent on Chrysler Tax Inversion Deal

Obama at ChryslerIt’s official. Chrysler has now completely merged with Italian auto maker, Fiat. It had taken a bit over five years for Fiat to gain total control of the bailed out, once-American Chrysler Corporation. Back in June of 2009, President Obama gifted (payment was made in the form of “technology”) an initial 20% stake in Chrysler to Fiat as part of his orchestrated auto bailout process. Fiat parlayed that into full ownership and is now showing its gratitude to the American taxpayers who helped fund the deal by relocating Chrysler’s headquarters to London; a move which will lessen the company’s corporate tax rate.

While the Obama Administration has been quite vocal in condemning such deals (known as tax inversion deals) which lower corporations’ US tax bills, not much has been said when the companies involved are linked to cronies of the Administration. Obama friend, Warren Buffett, financed … Read More ➡

Tesla Wants to Put ‘Gigafactory’ Battery Plant in Nevada

Elon Musk ModelSOnly a year after Tesla Motors and CEO Elon Musk extracted themselves from the $465-million taxpayer stimulus loan that brought critical scrutiny to the company’s performance, the electric automaker has once again put itself under the spotlight that comes with taking government corporate welfare.

Today the company will announce its plans to build a battery manufacturing plant near Reno. The new gambit was the culmination of competition that pitted at least five states against one another for the “privilege” of hosting Tesla’s “Gigafactory” – named so because of the amount of stored power they plan to produce. Cost to build the plant is estimated to be $5 billion, and Musk said he expected the winning bidder to cover at least 10 percent of that, according to the Associated Press. That means at least $500 million in some form of incentives or conciliations from Silver State taxpayers.

The dance … Read More ➡

Two Months and Risky Business is Already an Afterthought

Bloomberg, Steyer, PaulsonBillionaire enviro-liberal Tom Steyer should thank his earth-healing, universalist, Less-Than-Supreme Being that the planet’s survival isn’t dependent on his business influence or political expenditures, because they have been massive flops.

Take, for example, “Risky Business,” his venture (along with figureheads Henry Paulson and Michael Bloomberg) introduced in late June to pressure businesses, investors and policymakers to account for vast planning costs for impending global warming effects in their financial reports. Initial media coverage of the contrived project made it appear that it would exert major influence in the corporate world. But while the scheme attempted to show intellectual rigor and nonpartisan analysis, Risky Business was easily revealed to be nothing more than another deeply biased construction to drive a political agenda.

A month after its introduction – accompanied by a New York Times op-ed by Paulson and interviews by Steyer and Bloomberg – and Risky Business … Read More ➡

6 Month GM Recall Tally – 34% Fixed, $3.4 Billion in Expenses

GM recall logoIt has now been over six months since General Motors finally recalled vehicles with a known deadly ignition switch defect. The defect was attributed with being the cause of accidents that resulted in at least 13 deaths. The Wall Street Journal now reports that only 34% of the recalled vehicles have been fixed.

GM has taken $3.4 billion in charges and losses on the past two earnings’ reports for all of their recalls, despite the fact that most of the recalled vehicles have yet to be repaired. The most questionable part of GM’s charges come from the first quarter’s earnings’ report.

In April of this year, GM took a $1.3 billion recall-related charge for the quarter ending March 31st. Repairs on recalled GM vehicles for the ignition switch defect began in April of this year. According to GM’s earnings’ release, the $1.3 billion charge was “for recall costs in … Read More ➡