Well, I just wrote about 1,500 words on this topic which our post editor just obligingly disappeared into the digital void, wiping out over an hour of work. This was, perhaps, an appropriate turn of events, however, as the majority of those 1,500 words were used to describe the frustrating political stalemate that played out over the last two days of hearings on “The Lasting Implications of the GM Bailout.” The dynamics of the government’s exit from GM seem to have changed little since I wrote “Government Motors: The Exit Strategy,” and the hearings focused on the political implications of the bailout. Having determined that the bailout will help the President’s reelection in midwestern states, the White House (as represented by auto task force member Ron Bloom) sought to retrench its “things would have been worse” position, and Republicans attacked on all fronts for the very same reason. The government’s favorable treatment of UAW-represented workers, especially in comparison to Delphi’s non-UAW retirees was a major point of attack, and the committee caused Bloom deny (under oath) having ever said that “I did this all for the unions,” despite the fact that both the Detroit News’s David Shepardson and Bloom’s task force colleague Steve Rattner have quoted him directly. Emails obtained by The Daily Caller were also presented as (more) evidence that the government intervened in a number of day-to-day decisions at GM, including the Delphi retiree issue.
Ultimately, the Republicans landed some serious body blows on the policy, although nothing radically new was presented. Bloom, meanwhile, defended the bailout by arguing that the alternative would have been much worse. In short, the political stalemate over the auto bailout continues… much to GM’s dismay. And since insiders are indicating that any collusion to boost GM’s stock price in order to improve the taxpayers’ return would be worse than a larger loss, a $10b+ loss is as good as guaranteed. Which means the Republican attacks will continue and the political trench warfare over the issue will only continue.