Tonight, the Democratic National Convention will reportedly highlight the "success" of the auto bailout. Michelle Malkin comments in a column today, and quotes NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica:
The claims that GM paid back its taxpayer-funded loans "in full" - a story peddled in campaign ads narrated by Hollywood actor Tom Hanks - were debunked by the Treasury Department's TARP watchdog this summer. GM still owes nearly $30 billion of the $50 billion it received, and its lending arm still owes nearly $15 billion of the more than $17 billion it received. Bailout watchdog Mark Modica of the National Legal and Policy Center adds: "In addition to U.S. taxpayers anteing up, Canada put in over $10 billion, and GM was relieved of about $28 billion of bondholder obligations as UAW claims were protected. That's an improvement of almost $90 billion to the balance sheet, and the company still lags the competition."
USA Today reports that General Motors will be, once again, temporarily halting production of the Chevy Volt. According to GM, the halt is not due to low sales of the Volt. The article quotes a Chevy spokesman as saying, "We are not idling the plant due to poor Volt sales. We're gearing up for production of the new Impala."
Some truths are so obvious that they cannot be denied. But that doesn't stop General Motors and politically-motivated cheerleaders for the Chevy Volt from trying. In the case of the Volt, the truth is that this car has been a dismal failure when considering the amount of hype and taxpayer money that has been spent to produce the supposed green wonder-car. Let's review just how wrong GM CEO, Dan Akerson, has been regarding sales projections for the Volt and how he refuses to take accountability for GM's blunders.
General Motors CEO & Chairman Dan Akerson has an op-ed in yesterday's Detroit Free Press in response to the growing chorus of criticism of the company in general, and his leadership in particular. It is rather typical corporate PR, complete with a Teddy Roosevelt quote.
One line is odd, though. Akerson (or his flak) writes:
I believe our culture is our "secret weapon" and is on the way to being a true difference maker for us.
Three years into their forced marriage with GM, the American taxpayers have seen the value of their investment in GM deteriorate by approximately $24 billion, largely due to continuing European losses. Exposure in Europe has contributed to crushing the value of GM's stock due to its chaotic and failing Opel unit in Germany. While government, journalists and Wall Street sympathizers have given the Obama Administration and GM leadership an almost incomprehensible pass on this value destruction and massive loss (presumably due to the macro-economic nature of the crisis), it's time to call for the accountability that this new Board was supposedly going to deliver.
It seems that the supply of taxpayer money available to support the Chevy Volt is never ending. Add the Department of Defense to the list of agencies tapping into the seemingly endless taxpayer funds to purchase Volts, as reported by Stripes.com. The US Military is buying Volts just as a recent poll at GM-Volt.com reveals that over 12% of Volt owners have had electrical problems with the vehicle.
General Motors announced an increase in government purchases of 115% in July. This follows June's jump in government fleet sales of 79%. Just what's going on? GM has claimed that it is localities (mostly for police vehicles) and not federal purchases driving the increases, but aren't localities struggling with their budgets? Why do the nation's police forces all of a sudden need new vehicles? A little research uncovers that the Obama Administration is once again being generous with federal grants to localities to purchase new cars, with one of the primary end recipients of taxpayer money being GM.
Well, I really have to hand it to the Obama Administration and General Motors when it comes to promoting green energy initiatives and the Chevy Volt; if nothing else, they are persistent. Unfortunately, that persistence continues to come at the expense of US taxpayers. The latest folly, as reported by Edmunds Inside Line, involves a $10.4 million grant from the Energy Department to create what Edmunds calls "Chevrolet Volt-ville."