GM True Lies Redux: A Time to Boycott?

April 23, 2010

In yesterday’s post about GM’s touting of their TARP payback (with interest!), I asked the following question:

“Unless GM is engaging in financial shell games of a kind that would put Bernie Madoff to shame, how is it possible for a company which posted a $4.3-billion loss for the half year after “emerging” from bankruptcy last summer,  lost $30.9 billion in 2008, and has laid off nearly 65,000 workers over the past year expect to a) build good cars that consumers want to buy, b) keep up payments to unions and union healthcare trust funds, and c) pay back their debt to American taxpayers?”

Clearly, I’m in good company, as American Thinker‘s Joseph Ashby arrived at the same “shell game bordering on fraud” conclusion (UPDATE: HotAir calls “shell game” too):

“So how did a recently bankrupt company which is still hemorrhaging money pay back a multi-billion dollar loan five years early? Could it be that the mountain of bailout cash was much more than turned out to be necessary?

“It’s hard to conclude that the repayment is anything other than a political and marketing ploy where the federal government receives “repayment” with the very same loan money handed out starting in 2008…

“Over-lending on a loan to achieve quick initial repayment (and thus inflate the loan’s perceived value), in the private economy, is called fraud. Where did GM come up with the money? It’s a question that merits asking.”

Ashby then links to FoxNews, which splashes cold water all over GM’s initial triumphant “pay-back” announcement in an article outlining Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) letter yesterday to tax-cheat Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner:

“It appears to be nothing more than an elaborate TARP money shuffle…”

“The bottom line seems to be that the TARP loans were ‘repaid’ with other TARP funds in a Treasury escrow account. The TARP loans were not repaid from money GM is earning selling cars, as GM and the administration have claimed in their speeches, press releases and television commercials.” [emphasis mine]

TARP watchdog Neil Barofsky supports Sen. Grassley’s conclusion:

“I think the one thing that a lot of people overlook with this is where they got the money to pay back the loan. And it isn’t from earnings. … It’s actually from another pool of TARP money that they’ve already received,” [Barofsky] said Wednesday. “I don’t think we should exaggerate it too much. Remember that the source of this money is just other TARP money.” 

Barofsky told the Senate Finance Committee the same thing Tuesday, and said the main way for the federal government to earn money out of GM would be through “a liquidation of its ownership interest.” 

Grassley criticized this scenario in his letter. 

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.”  [emphasis mine]

I’m torn, here. GM is, at best, deliberately misleading the public; at worst, the company is outright lying to us. I want to suggest a boycott of GM cars (for those who would actually consider buying a GM car in the first place), but if nobody buys their cars, they’ll never pay back the TARP money.

…Hell, they’ll never pay it back anyway. Go ahead and boycott ’em!


The Approach of Tyranny

March 5, 2010

When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When  governments fear the people, there is liberty.”

Whether it was Thomas Jefferson who actually said it, does not matter. The sentiment expressed is so strongly American and Founding-Father-ish in flavor that the exact source is not worth arguing about; the very essence of the statement remains American to its heart. And as Americans, we have always, unthinkingly, unhesitatingly believed that the government–our government–feared We the People enough so that liberty, not tyranny, has always our watchword.

But the times, they are a-changing. A CNN poll released late last month reports that a majority of people believe that the federal government threatens the rights of Americans. That’s right. A majority of citizens of this nation fear that the government represents a threat to our freedom:

“Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government’s become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens.”

What was that again, Mr. Jefferson? When the people fear the government, there is tyranny? But then again:

“Americans overwhelmingly think that the U.S. government is broken – though the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what’s broken can be fixed.”

The public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what’s broken can be fixed.” That too, is so uniquely American–the expectation that we can fix what’s broken; the can-do attitude; the eternal optimism that flashes out as the very best of the American spirit. As Sissy Willis describes it, the Shining City on the Hill.

We didn’t need to vote in “Hope” and “Change” in 2008. They are, as they have always been, an integral part of the American character. The pale imitations represented by Obama, Pelosi, and their ilk, are no more than faint and slightly sinister simulacra of the real things.

We have elections coming up in November. It’s time to take back our government, toss the tyranny, and let freedom ring.


H/T: Classical Liberal