No More Mr Nice Automaker
pic credit: HuffPo
It's funny how quickly we forget, especially in Detroit. Good for the car companies but bad for the car companies as they have obviously forgotten that they owe Obama one hell of a favor. You know, to pay him back for that big fat bailout they got that they lied and said they paid back but haven't.
Back to business as usual now that the bailout dust has cleared I guess.
Less than two years ago, the heads of the Detroit Three auto makers— General Motors, Chrysler Group and Ford Motor— pleaded before Congress for immediate government aid to prevent an industry collapse. Months later, in the middle of the government's bailout efforts for GM and Chrysler, industry executives signed a deal with the White House and California agreeing to boost fuel-economy standards nearly 35% by 2016 in return for California's agreement not to develop its own, separate fuel-economy rules.
But in recent months the industry has steered back toward a more confrontational posture. Auto makers lobbied heavily against a bill to mandate new safety technologies and increased government oversight, which was proposed in response to the uproar over Toyota Motor Corp.'s sudden acceleration recalls. That legislation now appears all but dead.
The industry also came out hard against a plan by the Obama administration to assign each new car a letter grade from A to D based on its environmental performance. Mr. McCurdy derided the plan as an elementary-school exercise.
GM, which had stopped making campaign contributions as it underwent its taxpayer-funded bankruptcy restructuring, recently resumed such spending, giving thousands of dollars to lawmakers' campaigns in the midterm election. GM has said it is exercising its right to support lawmakers who will push policies that help the industry.
"Thousands of dollars" sounds so sad and pathetic compared to the billions in taxpayer contributions that were offered up to save these companies doesn't it?
I completely support automaker initiatives meant to stop the ethanol gasoline madness (come ON people, you don't use food for fuel when you still have fuel!) so if that's what they are working on, more power to them. However, it's a slippery slope when you've been done a huge solid by the taxpayer if, say, the taxpayer prefers corn in their gasoline and you're battling hard against it.
Eroding engines isn't a good way to get more out of cars for the uninitiated but I think we can all agree that the taxpayer doesn't necessarily educate him or herself in all matters in which he or she is voting. Were this the case, TARP would still be considered something you cover your tent with to keep out of the rain and most of Congress would be out of a job.
Then again, I didn't see Porsche lining up to suck on the government teat and government fuel economy rules are hitting their pockets as well. Great on paper, not so great in practical application. Go figure.