Bailout Watch 39: Greenwash, Rinse and Repeat

bailout watch 39 greenwash rinse and repeat

Chrysler’s Jim Press is refining the “not a bailout” argument today, calling federal loan proposals “an acceleration of technology into the hands of consumers who couldn’t afford it, if we didn’t do it.” Furthermore, Press tells the Detroit Free Press that taxpayers will reap concrete benefits from the loans. “I think it will allow everybody to bring electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrid cars, even range-extended hybrids. All of those vehicles will be accelerated,” says Press. No, seriously. “These are going to be very doable products, looking at production, not just research, he deadpans. “Our focus of our investment from his point forward is improving the environmental footprint of our cars.” Why, Mr Press? Are high oil prices shifting the market towards greater fuel efficiency, making these investments a smart business choice? Not exactly. “We’re worried about dependence on foreign oil,” says Press, getting all national security advisor on us. “But if you fast forward 15 years, where will batteries come from? Right now, the major sources of batteries are other countries. So are we trading our dependence on foreign oil, which is a natural resource, for a dependence on other countries to produce something in a factory? We need to stimulate that development here — here in Michigan.” In other words, the real reason that Detroit should receive bailout loans is that it’s an organ of the national interest. If you think a Volt in every pot, and a head start on tackling Peak Battery sounds tempting, Press is even willing to put some accountability (and your money) on the hood to push you over the top. Press says $25b in loans would be a “good start,” and that the Feds should “look at the return on that $25 billion, and if in everyone’s perspective, we can do it again, we should. I think for a beginning, $25 billion is an appropriate place to start.” The camel knows it need only get its nose into the tent…

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  • Netrun Netrun on Sep 12, 2008

    Let me get this straight: Chrysler, a wholly owned subsidiary of a private equity firm, wants to be given $25B a year to 'invest in the improvement of their product's environmental footprint'. So, if Cerberus was to buy a foundering tech firm (we'll call it TechX) that, say, needed $15B to stay afloat, they could have Chrysler use $10B and 'spend' the $15B on the research being done at TechX? Sounds like a freakin' windfall for Cerberus if you ask me! Heck, if you keep playing out this scenario, Cerberus could ask Chrysler to borrow money from ResCap at a usurious rate with obnoxious 'fees' built into the loan agreement. Alone it might not save ResCap, but it certainly would help it with it's cash flow issues! Man, this whole deal sounds worse and worse.

  • ZoomZoom ZoomZoom on Sep 12, 2008

    Jim Press is a dolt. I say this from a visceral anger, but not due to some internal hatred I have. I say it because of the evidence of his inept decision making. So I say this with all due calmness: Fire his ass. Don't even ask for a resignation, just let him go. If I ran anything bigger than an ice cream stand, I'd mentally blacklist him for anything above "scooper." I wouldn't even let him run the cash register! It's time to retire, sir. You've done enough damage already, and you're looking tired anyhow.

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