Bailout Watch 70: Senate Funds $25b Motown Loans

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
bailout watch 70 senate funds 25b motown loans

Congressional funding for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) $25b low-interest loans, designed to help Detroit retool 20-year-old (or older) factories to produce fuel-efficient automobiles, has just cleared the Senate. MSNBC reports that the $634b spending bill (which includes the provision) is now heading for President Bush’s signature, after passing the Senate by a margin of 72 to 12. Detroit’s lobbyists’ have little time or reason to rest or celebrate. The moribund new car market is feeding the flames of their cash conflagration right here, right now. The DOE’s “normal” timetable wouldn’t put the money in their mitts until 2010. Too late. As The Detroit News points out, presidential aspirant John McCain feels their pain. “McCain spokeswoman Sarah Lenti said the Arizona senator ‘is committed to a responsive and efficient government. In circumstances in which it is straightforward to anticipate the startup of a new program, he would insist that work would begin in advance and be completed in a timely fashion.'” Wiggle much? Only as much as Barack Obama. “After the progress of the past week this is disappointing news from the Department of Energy,” Obama spokesman Brad Carroll said. “Barack Obama understands that these loans are essential for keeping auto jobs here in America, which is why he would do everything possible as president to expedite this process.”

Join the conversation
4 of 15 comments
  • Dutchchris Dutchchris on Sep 28, 2008
    Well, no. He pays for chrome-plated Bentleys for rich Saudis. If you think oil dollars fund terrorists, you’re mistaken. Oil barons, whether they wear turbans or suits, want the kind of radical change that Islamists are pushing. I'm guessing you meant to say that the oil barons don't want the radical change that islamists are pushing. But the oil industry of Iran is state controlled and radical change is exactly what mr Achmadinejad is pushing for (actually it's called jihadism and it means that YOU are his enemy until you convert to Islam and subject your self to the islamic law, the Sharia; in fact "Islam" means subjucation)and America has in fact accused Iran numerous times of fuelling the insurgencies in Iraq and Afganistan. The Saudi case is different. Their brand of jihadism is based on the wahabi doctrine and it's a slow paced variant. They go with the flow driving their chrome plated Bentley's abiding their time. They may not send checks to Bin Laden directly (that we know of)but they do invest a lot of money world wide in creating infrastructure for their extreme interpretation of Islam. If you want to know what's really behind "the war on terror" that is draining the US financially and that it appears to be loosing read Future Jihad by Walid Phares. This will explain exactly how you are financing your own downfall every time you fill up your car. One of the major goals of modern jihad is the destruction of the state of Israel. Achmadinejad makes no secret of his ambition to destroy this country, but that doesn't seem to bother you particularly. Whatever. Maybe it gets interesting for you that there is another country he wants to destroy even more desperately than Israel. This is the largest obstacle for his dream of global jihad and it's called America. Maybe Achmadinejad wanted to reassure people likes you when he hinted at Israel as the target for his nukes, and clearly he succeeded. The discussion seems to have degenerated to an "too bad for Israel" exercise. But if I had any real estate in New York I would sell it the second Iran did his first nuclear test.

  • Mel23 Mel23 on Sep 28, 2008

    The real power in Iran is Ali Khamenei. Ahmadinejad is president and merely executes policies set by Ali Khamenei. But we've got a convenient demon we can focus on as the problem instead of dealing with reality.

  • Skygreenleopard Skygreenleopard on Sep 28, 2008
    limmin : September 28th, 2008 at 12:08 am What did you expect was going to happen? The U.S. government allowed rampant “free trade” that sunk the American auto industry. There never was a “level playing field”. Foreign automakers had their R&D financed by their governments. Or their labor costs were far lower than ours. In any case, how could we compete with that? And the U.S. government just looked the other way. As long as people were buying cars, ANY cars, the economy was healthy….yeah, right. A bailout is only fair. Not to companies that refuse to make competitive products in the interest of short-term profits (i.e. trucks when oil was eventually going to skyrocket in price). You can't be serious in saying that the three most dominant automakers in the world (until now) failed to build what Americans would want and need now simply because the government didn't fund them? You've gotta be joking. It doesn't take billions in R&D to figure out that Americans want cheap, smaller, dependable cars. It's not a matter of R&D - they were just plain irresponsible and wrong. And even if it was - you think with those billions in profits and executive salaries they squandered they couldn't figure out that a decent sedan is all they needed to build? Please. If you think a bailout for all three companies is fair, I'd like to see more from the Big 3 than just one company's weak Volt.

  • Geeber Geeber on Sep 29, 2008
    Dutchchris: Many standards were influenced by the US carmakers to keep out imports. Notorious is the low speed impact regulations that favours big bulky (in a word: American) cars over sleeker imports.? That will certainly be news to the domestic car makers, let alone the imports. (And given that foreign nameplates claim the four top-selling passenger cars in the U.S., it appears as though this sneaky plot failed.) The standards were more influenced by Ralph Nader and his acolytes than by Detroit, who view vehicles as big bumper cars that should allow drivers to bash into each other without suffering any injury. And if by low-speed-impact regulation you mean the 5-mile-per-hour bumper standard, that one was pushed by insurance companies over the heated objections of Detroit. skygreenleopard: You can’t be serious in saying that the three most dominant automakers in the world (until now) failed to build what Americans would want and need now simply because the government didn’t fund them? You’ve gotta be joking. It doesn’t take billions in R&D to figure out that Americans want cheap, smaller, dependable cars. No, what they wanted until the recent run-up in gas prices and credit crunch was luxury sedans and luxurious SUVs and crossovers. Which is why even Toyota and Honda were rushing to build vehicles that fit the description. Even now, please note that the four best-selling passenger cars are the Toyota Camry and Corolla and Honda Civic and Accord. They are reliable, but the Camry and Accord certainly aren't that small anymore, and not one of them could fairly be described as cheap.