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Photoshop credit: George of Elegant Memories
The Obama administration is swaggering over its firing of GM CEO Richard Wagoner and its demand for more restructuring concessions from GM and Chrysler before they dole out more money.
But the bottom line is, despite their threats to withhold the funds, the feds will eventually give them the billions of dollars in taxpayer money they need to prop up their failing businesses.
In other words: KABUKI!
Frustrated administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of Obama’s announcement, said Chrysler has been given a 30-day window to complete a proposed partnership with Italian automaker Fiat SpA. The government will offer up to $6 billion to the companies if they can negotiate a deal before time runs out. If a Chrysler-Fiat union cannot be completed, Washington plans to walk away, leaving Chrysler destined for a complete sell-off.
Shawn Morgan, a Chrysler spokeswoman, declined to comment ahead of Obama’s announcement. For GM, the administration offered 60 days of operating money to restructure. Officials say they believe GM can put together a plan that will keep production lines moving in the coming years.
Barack Obama rose from community organizer to auto company usurper. Only in America.
Ed Morrissey points out that Obama has also cooked up a new government-backed warranty program:
Vehicle owners can expect the same kind of efficiency and expertise they receive there in handling warranty issues with their vehicles. Instead of working with dealers on the warranties, the government will now have to get involved, which will mean extensive paperwork for every warranty claim as the Directorate of Auto Warranties will have to account for every single penny, or at least those pennies that don’t get earmarked for Auto Warranty Bike Paths by Rep. Jim Oberstar.
And let’s not forget what this will do for Detroit’s competitiveness. Now that warranties will get funded by Uncle Sam, what do you suppose will happen to them? They’ll get shortened, and if they become uncompetitive, it will literally take an act of Congress to get longer warranties offered by Detroit. But that’s not what will really happen. If the Directorate of Auto Warranties discovers that the competition offers longer and more robust warranties, the Directorate will simply get Congress to pass laws outlawing them. After all, we can’t have a bunch of furriners undercutting Uncle Sam, can we? Why, that would be downright unpatriotic!
Update: 11:21am Eastern…
Barack Obama, auto repairman-in-chief, is on TV promising to guarantee that your GM/Chrysler car gets serviced and repaired.
Only thing he forgot to promise: the free tire gauges!
Here’s the transcript of his prepared remarks. An excerpt, including the announcement of a new “Director of Auto Recovery.”
It is my hope that the steps I am announcing today will go a long way toward answering many of the questions people may have about the future of GM and Chrysler. But just in case there are still nagging doubts, let me say it as plainly as I can — if you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors, you will be able to get your car serviced and repaired, just like always. Your warranty will be safe. In fact, it will be safer than it’s ever been. Because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warranty.
AUTO SALES SUPPORT
Therefore, to support demand for auto sales during this period, I’m directing my team to take several steps. First, we will ensure that Recovery Act funds to purchase government cars go out as quickly as possible and work through the budget process to accelerate other federal fleet purchases as well.
Second, we will accelerate our efforts through the Treasury Department’s Consumer and Business Lending Initiative. And we are working intensively with the auto finance companies to increase the flow of credit to both consumers and dealers.
Third, the IRS is today launching a campaign to alert consumers of a new tax benefit for auto purchases made between Feb 16 and the end of this year — if you buy a car anytime this year, you may be able to deduct the cost of any sales and excise taxes. This provision could save families hundreds of dollars and lead to as many as 100,000 new car sales.
Finally, several members of Congress have proposed an even more ambitious incentive program to increase car sales while modernizing our auto fleet.
I want to work with Congress to identify parts of the Recovery Act that could be trimmed to fund such a program, and make it retroactive starting today.
DIRECTOR OF RECOVERY I am designating a new Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers to cut through red tape and ensure that the full resources of our federal government are leveraged to assist the workers, communities, and regions that rely on our
Call it the Federal Unionized Bureau of Auto Repair: FUBAR.