Bailout Watch 57: Minority Dealers: "Where OUR $500m?"
When the [not always] Right Reverend Jesse Jackson weighed-in in favor of $25b worth of low-interest federal loans for Detroit’s automakers, I couldn’t quite peg JJ”s angle. Jackson blathered-on about economic catastrophe and kids not being able to go to school. Well, now we have an indication of the real reason that JJ voted aye for the bailout. Automotive News reports “Desmond Roberts, chairman of the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers, says his group has been urging members of Congress for most of the summer to provide $500 million in direct loans and loan guarantees to help minority dealers.” Yes, you heard right: NAMAD was into bailouts before bailouts were cool. “We were asking before the manufacturers went with their request,” says Roberts, owner of Advantage Chevrolet, of Hodgkins, Ill. “What we’re asking now is if they are going to appropriate $25 billion, can’t they carve out $500 million for the dealers who are in dire straits, whose absolute existence is threatened today? We’re the forgotten component.” AN says GM has about 340 minority-owned dealerships out of 6,550, while 271 of Ford’s 4,056 dealerships are owned by minority dealers. No flames now, but can someone please explain to me why minority-owned car dealers should get federal assistance when non-minority-owned dealers don’t?