NLPC Associate Fellow Fred N. Sauer asserts that General Electric is no longer a great industrial company, but is now dominated by its General Electric Capital Services (GECS) division. Contrary to the conventional wisdom of the financial media that GECS has been GE's strength in recent years, Sauer argues that GECS is dangerously reliant on short-term financing to support its own lending. The result is a company ultimately dependent on political influence to mitigate the risk, creating opportunities for the well connected, like Warren Buffett.
'Occupy Wall Street' and similar protests around the nation were only the beginning. The Service Employees International Union, as much as anyone, is making sure of it. The SEIU these past several months has been playing a crucial behind-the-scenes role in transforming these rallies into the raw material for a new generation of activists. Through varied front groups, the union is taking its fight against banks, energy companies and other corporations to a new level, making sure reluctant elected officials feel their wrath. These nonprofit organizations, typically operating under monikers such as "good jobs" and "a fair economy," may seem spontaneous and benign. Yet they are union stage-managed. And as their leaders become more sophisticated and networked, unions may wind up a good deal more effective in their drive to place the U.S. economy under public control.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has notified the brokers who raised most of the private financing for taxpayer-backed electric automaker Fisker Automotive that charges may be brought against them, in connection with a private offering in 2009.
The recent lowering of lease costs for the Chevy Volt led me to think about the amount of money General Motors or Ally Financial (also taxpayer-owned) was going to lose when the quickly depreciating leased vehicles begin to be returned. I then recognized another egregious waste of taxpayer money being spent to support the struggling car. Taxpayers are paying the tax credits, which go to the lessor of the Volt (most likely Ally Financial), to place Volts on the road for a limited period of time.
These guys at Government Motors just continue to outdo themselves. Just as Chevy Volt owners are getting over being called idiots by the head of Audi, GM comes up with an ad that lends credence to the accusation. A supposed Volt owner tells how she loves her car because her friends think it looks like a spaceship and it saves a "crapload" of money.
Last week NLPC reported that an international law firm, whose employees provided significant campaign support for President Obama, was paid $1.8 million from the stimulus to review and conduct “due diligence” for the Department of Energy’s suspended loan to Fisker Automotive, an electric vehicle start-up company. Fisker sent 65 workers to the unemployment lines.
Debevoise and Plimpton, which employs top Obama bundler and fundraiser David Rivkin, wasn’t the only largely Democratic law firm to reap such rewards. At least four other major law practices also analyzed DOE’s loan programs and its grantees – three of which gave large sums of money to the campaigns of President Obama and fellow Democrats.
The Detroit News reports that Mitt Romney wants a reexamination of the General Motors' bankruptcy proceedings. Mr. Romney is quoted as stating, "I think it's important for us to go back and look at what happened and take apart this bankruptcy process. See to what extent the finger of politics was placed on the scales of justice and see if we can't be more fair to the people involved in this process." I agree with the sentiment, but I do have to ask, where were the Republicans on this issue over two years ago?
In administrating its stimulus-fed loan and grants programs, the Department of Energy has been accused of incompetence, carelessness, recklessness, and cronyism. Now it can add inconsistency to those distinguishing characteristics.
I hate to beat a dead Edsel, but the Chevy Volt story is just too important to let slip away. After last week's announcement by General Motors that it would be temporarily halting production of the Chevy Volt due to low demand, you would think that the evidence would finally be conclusive that the over-hyped, over-subsidized vehicle is a flop. The response by GM and lack of same from the Obama-loving media is worthy of continued criticism from those of us who have recognized that taxpayers have been bilked out of billions of dollars to produce a car that does practically nothing for the environment or foreign oil dependence while being unwanted by the 99% of consumers that can not afford, nor want the car. In fact, most 1 percenters don't want the car either.