The verdict is in from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on General Motors’ corroding brake line problem. Despite having received thousands of complaints from motorists regarding brake failure due to brake line rust, the agency claims GM does not have higher failure rates than other manufacturers. The clear evidence to the contrary makes this a classic case of what economists call "regulatory capture." First identified by Nobel laureate George Stigler (in photo) in 1971, it's when a government agency tasked with protecting the public interest instead acts to the benefit of an industry or particular company.
The United Auto Workers may have declined in numbers, but its taste for confrontation appears as strong as ever. And its new leader, Dennis Williams, isn't about to let anyone forget. Last Wednesday, June 4, Williams, the UAW secretary-treasurer these last four years, overwhelmingly was elected president at the union convention in Detroit. Inaugurated the following day, Williams, now 61, replaces one-term President Bob King, who at 67 retired in the face of the union's mandatory age limit. Williams' main priority is ending the two-tier wage system to which the union agreed in 2007 as part of a deal to keep General Motors, Ford and Chrysler afloat. He'll get to test his mettle in contract negotiations next year. The union shouldn't lack for funds in this or any other endeavor; delegates approved a 25 percent dues hike.
The Free Enterprise site chronicles the "Free Enterprise Tour," which would be a welcome undertaking if not for the sponsorship of bailed-out General Motors. According to NLPC President Peter Flaherty, "I don't know who looks worse, the Chamber for not appreciating that the GM sponsorship looks silly to many people, or GM for acting like it's a competitive company operating in a real marketplace."
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."
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.
Submitted by NLPC Staff on Fri, 02/17/2012 - 20:06
Last night, NLPC President Peter Flaherty criticized GM's bonuses to United Auto Workers while the company is stil deep in the hole to taxpayers. He appeared on CNN's Situation Room. Here's a transcript:
During an appearance on Fox Business Network on Tuesday, NLPC Associate Fellow (and GM bondholder) Mark Modica warned that the GM bankruptcy may provide a model for insolvent states and localities to crush bondholders and taxpayers to protect politically-connected unions. "Follow the Money" host is Eric Bolling. Here's a transcript:
Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit isn’t the sort of place where one would think party animals hang out. But the camera doesn’t lie. Acting on a tip, WJBK-TV/Fox 2 News in Detroit aired a story this morning showing roughly 15 plant employees, over the course of several consecutive days, chugging beer and smoking marijuana in a park near the company parking lot.