Today's drop in GM's share price to a new low represents a one-day, half-billion dollar loss for taxpayers. From the time that Treasury could first file to sell the taxpayers' stake in GM, the losses have reached about 2.5 billion dollars. Of course the total cost of the bailout was well above this, but the Obama Administration does not seem to want to cut its losses.
GM announced earnings this morning and the numbers appeared to be good on the surface. Media friends of GM trumpeted the good news but the celebration did not last long. The festive mood was replaced with GM apologists trying to explain the negative share price reaction.
Sales of the much-hyped Chevy Volt fell to new lows as did GM share price as July auto sales figures came in. Only 125 Volts were sold during the month of July. Recent reports attributed the slump to supply constraints as GM spokeswoman, Michelle Bunker, was quoted as saying that the Volt was "virtually sold out" and only a "few" were available nationwide. I have confirmed that this statement is not entirely truthful and have gotten clarification from GM through Director of Communications, Greg Martin.
It appears Urbina crossed the line into sensational journalism with his baseless claims by failing to conduct proper background checks, and his tendency to overstate the credentials of anonymous sources. This problems with his reporting apparently have driven a wedge between Times editors trying to justify the story, and those concerned over the long-term repercussions for the paper.
The latest reports from Reuters state that the US Treasury Department will wait until after September to sell its GM stake. Just why is Treasury gambling taxpayer money by trying to market time its exit of General Motors' shares? The lock-up period for GM expired at the end of May. This was the earliest time that insiders (such as Treasury) involved in the GM IPO would be allowed to file to sell shares. At that time, GM shares were hovering around $31. Today's price is closer to $28. Calculating the loss from late May to now on the taxpayers' approximate 500 million shares, we come up with a loss of about $1.5 billion. What is leading the executive branch of our government to believe it has the right to play investment adviser and market timer for taxpayers on the GM gamble?
Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., announced his resignation following accusations that he engaged in an unwanted sexual encounter with a young woman.
Moments after Oregon's two United States Senators, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, asked the congressman to step down, Wu addressed the House and said his resignation would go into effect after the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis.
The Service Employees International Union could have written the book on how to get corporations to surrender. In fact, it has written the book. Lawyers for Sodexo USA, a subsidiary of France-based food services and facilities provider Sodexo Inc., recently revealed as much during the discovery phase of the company's federal racketeering suit against the union: an SEIU manual on how to intimidate employers. By applying extreme pressure, the monograph argued, a union can extract concessions from management on virtually any issue. Section Three of the text, fully 88 pages, can be downloaded from www.workplacechoice.org. The lawsuit, filed in March, has yet to go to trial. Yet whatever the outcome, the manual unwittingly shines a spotlight on the lengths to which unions in this country will go to achieve victory in a corporate campaign.
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, the FBI arrested Ed Ahmad, the Guyanese businessman who made an unsecured $40,000 loan to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) that Meeks failed to publicly disclose as required. Ahmad was charged with mortgage fraud in connection to a wide-ranging scheme that involved faking income for applicants and the use of straw buyers. He was reportedly released on $2.5 million bail.
According to one report, "Ahmad had already boarded Delta 383 at JFK International to head to Guyana when Federal agents boarded the aircraft, handcuffed him and removed him from the aircraft."