What’s the opposite of reductio ad absurdum? Whatever it is, that’s what we’re looking at, as Bailout Nation (hat tip to Daniel Howes) continues to expand. The Wall Street Journal reports that the rental car giants are putting in their bid to dine at the multi-billion dollar bailout buffet. “Avis Budget Group Inc., Hertz Global Holdings Inc. and other rental-car companies are lobbying Congress to allow them to use Troubled Asset Relief Program funds to finance new auto purchases. The House of Representatives included a clause in a TARP reform bill that it passed last week to give the government authority to back loans to rental-car companies and other fleet purchasers. The bill has now moved on to the Senate.” So rental car companies AND fleet purchasers get low-interest federal loans (a.k.a. free money)? Hey, I own two cars! Is that a fleet? Trust me: they’re deeply troubled assets. Where’s my bailout? I know! Let’s ask Barney Frank!
“If our desire is to get car buying and credit flowing again, enabling people who buy hundreds of cars at a time is a good way to do it,” said Steven Adamske, a spokesman for Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
Damn! Hundreds! Oh well. OK then, what the Hell will making it easier for rental car companies to buy cars do to get more people renting cars? I mean, that IS where their revenue comes from, yes? Yes. But that’s besides the point, apparently.
“Still, the companies say it would bring significant relief. Access to fresh capital would help grease overall auto sales and purchases, they contend. ‘The whole system needs to get moving again,’ says Pat Farrell, a spokesman for privately held Enterprise Rent-A-Car Co., which also operates the National and Alamo brands.”
At the risk of over-simplifying this situation, it’s bat shit crazy.