The death toll for General Motors' faulty ignition switch victims continues to rise with the last reported number being 42. There has been speculation that the death count is significantly higher, as safety advocate Clarence Ditlow has written to GM to request an expansion of efforts to uncover victims of accidents resulting from defective GM vehicles.
General Motors is now approaching its fifth year of existence since emerging as a new entity as a result of the 2009 auto bailouts which saw taxpayers fund a bankruptcy process to the tune of $50 billion. Much has been debated about the "success" of GM since the controversial government-orchestrated restructuring. While GM management recently announced a dividend in an attempt to ensure investors of financial stability, a more telling indicator of the likelihood of future profitability may be found through an analysis of how competitive the company's vehicles are.
As the presidential election nears we continue to hear about what a great job the Obama Administration did "saving" General Motors. The claims are that millions of jobs were saved and Mitt Romney wanted to let Detroit go bankrupt. A review of the facts reveals that the auto bailout process that cost taxpayers billions of dollars is hardly anything to brag about.
When President Obama says he "saved" GM, what he means is that his administration guided a bankruptcy process for the company, funded with taxpayer dollars. The repeated statements by Obama that Romney would have let the company go bankrupt are deceptive. Let's be clear, GM DID go bankrupt.
The 2012 election campaigns have seen accusations thrown about that both President Obama and Governor Romney have been less than honest at times. After Obama was soundly trounced in the first debate, the defense for the President's poor performance (other than Al Gore's theory that it was the high altitude) was that Mitt Romney lied. While that unsubstantiated charge might make Governor Romney an accused liar, the facts surrounding the General Motors bankruptcy process reveal that those in the Obama Administration are proven liars.
The unprecedented intrusion of the executive branch of the US government into the American auto industry when the Obama Administration orchestrated the General Motors and Chrysler bankruptcy processes is now leading to unprecedented responses. Groups that were clearly discriminated against and had their rights subordinated to politically powerful unions may actually have a winnable case against our own government as lawsuits are being brought against the US Treasury Dept. and others.
On Friday night, I discussed White House staffer Ron Bloom's statement that the auto bailout was done for the unions, and his subsequent denial of making such a claim, only to now back off his denial. The show was America's Nightly Scorecard on Fox Business Channel. Here's a transcript:
General Motors recently launched a pilot program in the Pacific Northwest offering free auto insurance on GM vehicle purchases. The move immediately drew criticism from independent insurance agents who point to possible legal problems with the move, as reported by liveinsurancenews.com. The agents are obviously concerned with the potential loss of business, but they make valid points that there are regulatory and licensing requirements that go with the offering of insurance products.
The Detroit Free Press reports that the House committee holding hearings on the auto bailout process wants clarification from former head of President Obama's Auto Task Force, Ron Bloom, regarding testimony he gave about a statement he allegedly made at a 2009 celebratory dinner. According to a news article written at the time and fellow ex-car czar, Steve Rattner, Bloom stated that he "did this all for the unions." Bloom denied making the statement while under oath. The congressional panel isn't buying it and has written a letter to Bloom requesting that he amend his testimony.