After finally solving problems with computer viruses this past weekend, there was an e-mail waiting from a good friend. He was wondering about General Motors’ recall of 2.6 million cars for faulty ignition switches, which have caused at least thirteen deaths, and what the Obama administration knew at the time it was illegally bailing out GM with $49 billion of your money. Well, one thing we can say with certainty is that President Obama was totally unaware of this problem at that time, because he never knows anything until or unless he hears it on MSNBC.
The truth is that I hadn’t been following this story and didn’t realize that the ignition switch problem with GM’s Colbalt and other models dated back before the formation of Government Motors. But, my friend’s e-mail sparked my interest and I began searching the web for information. What I learned was that something is rotten inside General Motors and something is rotten inside of the Obama administration.
Something Is Rotten In GM
According to this New York Time’s article, GM engineers were aware of the ignition switch prob as early as 2001.
The company apparently knew about the defect as far back as 2001, when it discovered the problem during testing of the Saturn Ion. It saw the problem again in 2004, as the Cobalt was about to be rolled out with the same ignition system. According to documents obtained in congressional investigations, engineers came up with a proposed fix, but it was nixed on the grounds that it was too expensive and would take too much time.
Too expensive? The Detroit News reports that the following haunting words were included in an internal memorandum by a still anonymous engineer:
“None of the solutions represents an acceptable business case.”
When the engineers finally did find a fix for the ignition switches in 2006, they did it in way to try to cover up the fact that there had ever been a problem. From the NYT article linked above, we learn:
Finally, in 2006, engineers at General Motors appeared to have fixed the problem, but they did so without changing the part number, which is a shocking violation of engineering protocol, wrote Micheline Maynard at Forbes.com. It makes G.M. appear to have been engaged in subterfuge, hiding the fact that its ignition had been defective all those years.
Meanwhile, at least 13 people died in accidents that were clearly the result of the faulty ignition design. There are also another 140 people who died in accidents involving the Cobalt in which the cause is unknown. Yet for more than a decade, General Motors did nothing.
Something is definitely rotten inside General Motors.
Something Is Rotten Inside Of The Obama Administration
The National Review has an excellent two page article titled: Duped or Complicit. The article raises some very disturbing questions. Before bailing out GM, did Obama’s task force do their due diligence to get a clear picture of GM’s assets, liabilities, and problems? Did GM’s management hide the ignition switch problem from the task force? Did the Obama administration give GM’s new management protection from liabilities caused by the old management? I must admit I find it a little suspicions that our government sold its last shares of GM in December 2013 and the recalls started in February 2014.
The author of the National Review article tells us a good reason why the government should own a car company:
Finally, the American government should not own a car company because it inevitably turns the leader of the free world into a car salesman. President Obama would occasionally joke about his role, declaring at the 2009 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, “GM will rise or fall on the quality of its products — like the taut, athletic design of the new Buick Enclave. Its French-seamed leather and warm wood tones make the Enclave more than transportation. It’s a modern driver’s retreat. Come on, work with me here. I’ve got cars to move, people!”
And the there is this from our Car Salesman-in-Chief:
Obama held a rally at the General Motors Lordstown Assembly Plant in Warren, Ohio, on September 15, 2009, touting the popularity of the Cobalt as he praised the Cash for Clunkers program: “The Chevy Cobalt that you build here was one of GM’s most sought-after cars under that program. Dealers across the country started running out. You need to build more.” He told the workers building the Cobalt, “You’re doing your part to move us forward and make sure that the high-quality, well-engineered, safe, and fuel-efficient cars of the future will be built where they always have been built — right here in Ohio, right across the Midwest, right here in the United States of America.”
David Harsanyi writing at The Federalist tells us The GM Scandal Is Worse Than You Think. While GM was Government Motors. a competitor, Toyota, was having to recall some of their cars. President Obama’s Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, was making public statements like “My advice is, if anybody owns one of these vehicles, stop driving it”, which caused Toyota’s stock price to nosedive. And, even though LaHood’s agency later put out a report saying there was no evidence equipment failure in the Toyota case, good soldier, Eric Holder, kept up his law suit against Toyota going until they caved-in and paid a $1.2 billion settlement. Now, maybe Toyota deserved what they got. I don’t know. But, as Harsanyi points out, it is troubling that LaHood did not go after GM even though his staff twice suggested there were serious problems there.
President Obama sold Americans lemons and 13 Americans died in those lemons and many more were injured. Not only has his administration made a practice dealing with crony capitalist, with his bailout of General Motors he made our government a crony capitalist.
It’s hard to be a proud American these days.
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?