Albert Einstein is credited with having defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Well, prepare for more insanity as General Motors is doubling down on green energy and plug-in cars after the disappointing sales results from previous entries into the field. The politically-motivated hype that we saw, and continue to see, on the Chevy Volt will be repeated. This time the over-hyped vehicle will be a Korean-made, all-electric Chevy Spark.
By any number of indicators, the nation's housing market is in recovery. But that may be the last thing the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) wants to hear right now. Last Friday, the mortgage insurance agency, part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, announced the results of an independent annual audit projecting that reserves of FHA's main fund, as of September 30, were $16.3 billion less than its obligations for the current operating year. The estimate, far more grim than what had been forecast only months earlier, has renewed debate in Washington and elsewhere as to the need for a special infusion of funds - i.e., a bailout. It would be the first in the agency's 75-plus years.
"The unbridled growth of crony unionism and government corruption will destroy the United States as we know it." This statement may strike many as sheer hyperbole. But its author, Mallory Factor, a political scientist at The Citadel, knows whereof he writes. His new book, "Shadowbosses: Government Unions Control America and Rob Taxpayers Blind" (New York: Center Street), makes a credible case, and a well-sourced one, that our country may be in the early stages of a ruinous dystopia, courtesy of public-sector unions. In pursuing their interests, argues the author, these labor organizations hold taxpaying citizens hostage to unsustainable wage/salary, pension, health care and other contractual commitments. Municipal bankruptcy filings this year by San Bernardino and Stockton, Calif. may be a mere taste of things to come.
It is being suggested that President Obama's reelection was at least in part helped by the auto industry bailouts, or more accurately, the portrayal of the bailouts by the president and the media. It is therefore important to surmise that the precedent setting auto bankruptcy proceedings saw billions of taxpayer dollars used to not only help the industry, but to fund the reelection of the sitting president that orchestrated the process.
General Motors is criticizing Mitt Romney for running an ad that says GM cut 15,000 jobs under the Obama Administration. The Detroit Free Press reported that GM spokesman Greg Martin (speaking about the Romney ad) stated, "No amount of campaign politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back to this country."
Leaving aside for a moment the bigger issue of a taxpayer-supported entity improperly inserting itself in an election, lets examine the facts. A look at GM's annual SEC filings gives a clear picture of how many people were employed by the company both before and after the Obama Administration guided the company through a bankruptcy process.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne discussed, in limited detail, some of the Italian company's plans for future production of its vehicles, including the Chrysler and Jeep brands, during an earnings conference call yesterday. There has been much recent speculation on the possibility that some of the once American-owned Chrysler Jeep vehicles will be outsourced and produced overseas.
Coming hot on the heels of speculation that some Jeep production may be moved to China comes a bombshell from a Bloomberg report. Fiat is now considering moving Chrysler and Jeep production to Italy.
According to the piece, "To counter the severe slump in European sales, (Fiat CEO Sergio) Marchionne is considering building Chrysler models in Italy, including Jeeps, for export to North America. The Italian government is evaluating tax rebates on export goods to help Fiat. Marchionne may announce details of his plan as soon as Oct. 30, the people said."
There is nothing like having unbiased media coverage of the all-important presidential campaign leading up to next week's election. And the media is nothing like unbiased. We see this playing out again as Mitt Romney is now being accused of misrepresenting a story that Bloomberg.com reported on Chrysler's potential outsourcing of Jeep manufacturing to China. A look at the original comments from the article gives evidence as to how unfair the criticism is and just how right Romney was for pointing out the likely future outsourcing of Jeep manufacturing.