Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

GM laying off 1300 workers due to low Chevy Volt sales

From the Washington Examiner.

Excerpt:

General Motors Co. announced the temporary suspension of Chevrolet Volt production and the layoffs of 1300 employees, as the company is cutting Volt manufacturing to meet lower-than-expected demand for the electric cars.

“Even with sales up in February over January, we are still seeking to align our production with demand,” GM spokesman Chris Lee said. The car company had hoped to sell 45,000 Chevy Volts in America this year, according to the Detroit News, but has only sold about 1,626 over the first two months of 2012.

“GM blamed the lack of sales in January on “exaggerated” media reports and the federal government’s investigation into Volt batteries catching fire, which officially began in November and ended Jan. 21,” the Ann Arbor (Mich.) News reported.

The laid-off employees will be rehired April 23rd, when GM resumes production of the Volt.

I find lots of wonderful stories like this one on the Bad Blue conservative news aggregator. I recommend bookmarking them.

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How good a job is Obama doing running car companies?

Investors Business Daily explains.

Excerpt:

President Obama’s electric car vision is off to a hot start. First the heavily subsidized Chevy Volt started catching fire. Then government-backed Fisker Automotive had to recall all its cars due to a fire hazard.

Late last month, Fisker, the electric car startup that is busy spending its $529 million in Department of Energy loans, announced a recall of its entire fleet of luxury Karmas because of a faulty battery that posed a fire risk.

The battery maker at fault — A123 Systems — is another Obama grantee, having gotten $380 million in taxpayer support to make advanced car batteries.

Fisker says it’s already fixed the problem, but this is just the latest in a series of troubles plaguing the new car company.

Although it once promised to be profitably churning out 1,200 cars a month by now, Fisker has so far sold only about 240 — at a price almost 14% higher than promised. And the more moderately priced electric sedan it says it will build in an abandoned Delaware plant is still nowhere to be seen.

Bad as this is, Fisker’s troubles are just a taste of the expensive and dangerous mess in store for car buyers should Obama succeed in forcing the industry to bend to his green dreams.

In May, a Chevy Volt caught fire three weeks after a government crash test of the car. In follow-up tests in November, a second Volt caught fire after a test crash, and a third began to smoke and emit sparks.

[...]Volt sales came in about 30% below GM’s forecast for 2011 — in a year when overall retail car sales beat industry analyst forecasts by almost 12% — earning the Volt third place on 24/7 Wall Street’s list of worst product flops of 2011.

And that’s despite the substantial tax break to Volt buyers and the hundreds of millions in grant money to its suppliers.

Obama is spending a lot of taxpayer money on his Solyndra-style boondoggles. Taking money away from employers and families and just throwing it in the trash. We are now officially over 100% debt-to-GDP. We are entering a Greece-style debt situation and this dingbat is throwing our money away on Peter Pan energy policies.

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Obama-connected General Electric paid no taxes on $14 billion profit

From the Weekly Standard, a possible explanation of why GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt is tightly linked to Barack Obama.

Excerpt:

General Electric, one of the largest corporations in America, filed a whopping 57,000-page federal tax return earlier this year but didn’t pay taxes on $14 billion in profits. The return, which was filed electronically, would have been 19 feet high if printed out and stacked.

The fact that GE paid no taxes in 2010 was widely reported earlier this year, but the size of its tax return first came to light when House budget committee chairman Paul Ryan (R, Wisc.) made the case for corporate tax reform at a recent townhall meeting. “GE was able to utilize all of these various loopholes, all of these various deductions–it’s legal,” Ryan said. Nine billion dollars of GE’s profits came overseas, outside the jurisdiction of U.S. tax law. GE wasn’t taxed on $5 billion in U.S. profits because it utilized numerous deductions and tax credits, including tax breaks for investments in low-income housing, green energy, research and development, as well as depreciation of property.

“I asked the GE tax officer, ‘How long was your tax form?'” Ryan said. “He said, ‘Well, we file electronically, we don’t measure in pages.'” Ryan asked for an estimate, which came back at a stunning 57,000 pages. When Ryan relayed the story at the townhall meeting in Janesville, there were audible gasps from the crowd.

Meanwhile, Obama’s General Motors bailout is going to cost taxpayers at least $23.6 billion dollars.

Excerpt:

The Treasury Department dramatically boosted its estimate of losses from its $85 billion auto industry bailout by more than $9 billion in the face of General Motors Co.’s steep stock decline.

In its monthly report to Congress, the Treasury Department now says it expects to lose $23.6 billion, up from its previous estimate of $14.33 billion.

The Treasury now pegs the cost of the bailout of GM, Chrysler Group LLC and the auto finance companies at $79.6 billion. It no longer includes $5 billion it set aside to guarantee payments to auto suppliers in 2009.

Obama’s millionaires and billionaires get another bailout and taxpayers get the bill.

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New York Times admits that GM repaid its bailout loans with TARP loan money

Story here in the radically-leftist New York Times. (H/T Hot Air)

Excerpt:

AS we inch closer to a clearer understanding of the products and practices that unleashed the credit crisis of 2008, it’s becoming apparent that those seeking the whole truth are still outnumbered by those aiming to obscure it. This is the case not only on Wall Street but also in Washington.

Truth seekers the nation over, therefore, are indebted to Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who in recent days uncovered what he called a government-enabled “TARP money shuffle.” It relates to General Motors, which on April 21 paid the balance of its $6.7 billion loan under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

G.M. trumpeted its escape from the program as evidence that it had turned the corner in its operations. “G.M. is able to repay the taxpayers in full, with interest, ahead of schedule, because more customers are buying vehicles like the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse,” boasted Edward E. Whitacre Jr., its chief executive.

G.M. also crowed about its loan repayment in a national television ad and the United States Treasury also marked the moment with a press release: “We are encouraged that G.M. has repaid its debt well ahead of schedule and confident that the company is on a strong path to viability,” said Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary.

Taxpayers are naturally eager for news about bailout repayments. But what neither G.M. nor the Treasury disclosed was that the company simply used other funds held by the Treasury to pay off its original loan.

This is what you get when you appoint a tax-cheat to be the Treasury Secretary.

Here’s what we need to understand about government bailouts. There should never be any such thing as a government bailout. GM and these other bailed-out companies made bad decisions that put them at a competitive disadvantage with respect to their competitors. The Obama administration bailed out these failing companies with money from other hard-working individuals and successful companies, including small businesses. The Obama administration did this for political gain with its favored special interest groups, e.g. – unionized labor,  wall street bankers and GSE executives. Those are the groups that got Obama elected, and he paid them back with “bailouts”. Government has no right to get involved with bailing out their buddies with my money and your money.

I remember when people use to complain about profit margins of 8% in some big corporations when Bush was President. But at least they earned that money by selling things that people needed and freely chose to buy. They did operate on a government-backed expense account. Sometimes I wonder whether all of these problems are caused because we elect spoiled-brat, silver-spoon liberals who spent their entire lives getting into trouble and then begging their parents, (and grandparents, in Obama’s case), for bailout money. Maybe they are just making policy based on their experiences in making irresponsible choices and then being bailed out by their parents?

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Did GM pay off its bailout loans by using other government loans?

Story from Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.

Moderate Republican Chuck Grassley, who supported Obama’s bailouts, wants to know how GM paid off their debts. He wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

Excerpt:

General Motors (GM) yesterday announced that it repaid its TARP loans. I am concerned, however, that this announcement is not what it seems. In fact, it appears to be nothing more than an elaborate TARP money shuffle.

On Tuesday of this week, Mr. Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for TARP, testified before the Senate Finance Committee. During his testimony Mr. Barofsky addressed GM’s recent debt repayment activity, and stated that the funds GM is using to repay its TARP debt are not coming from GM earnings.

Instead, GM seems to be using TARP funds from an escrow account at Treasury to make the debt repayments. The most recent quarterly report from the Office of the Special Inspector General for TARP says “The source of funds for these quarterly [debt] payments will be other TARP funds currently held in an escrow account.” See, Office of the Special Inspector General for TARP, Quarterly Report to Congress dated April 20, 2010, page 115.

Furthermore, Exhibit 99.1 of the Form 8K filed by GM with the SEC on November 16, 2009, seems to confirm that the source of funds for GM’s debt repayments was a multi-billion dollar escrow account at Treasury—not from earnings.

[...]In reality, it looks like GM merely used one source of TARP funds to repay another. The taxpayers are still on the hook, and whether TARP funds are ultimately recovered depends entirely on the government’s ability to sell GM stock in the future. Treasury has merely exchanged a legal right to repayment for an uncertain hope of sharing in the future growth of GM. A debt-for-equity swap is not a repayment.

Ed summarizes:

In other words, this is just a shell game. As Jim Vicevich points out, it’s akin to paying off your Visa credit card with your Mastercard — and then bragging about your financial condition. Taxpayers are still on the hook for GM. Nothing at all has changed.

Instead, we have another good reason for government to refrain from bailing out private companies. It makes them act like government when it comes to transparency about their finances. This claim really does prove that GM now stands for Government Motors.

Michelle Malkin also has a good column here about MORE connections between Democrats and rich Wall Street investment bankers. The Democrats are tightly connected with large corporations and investment banks. As a small government conservative, I find this alarming and unsettling. I believe in separation of government and corporations.

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