Bailout Watch 282: Bailout D.O.A. in Senate. For Now.

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
bailout watch 282 bailout d o a in senate for now

The New York Times is reporting that the auto bailout bill passed by the House “appears dead in the Senate” today. Opposition from Republican senators is well summarized in an op-ed by Senator Bob Corker in today’s Detroit News. But another reason the bill might fail has emerged only recently, as the Times also reports that the House version of the bill was packed with pork shortly before passage. A provision in the bill asks the government to help municipal transit agencies by guaranteeing the economics of a complex tax shelter known as SILO (Sale In, Lease Out), despite years of efforts by the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service to shut it down and collect billions of dollars of unpaid taxes, interest and penalties. SILO involves buying and then leasing back depreciation rights and assets at the transit agencies, in yet another poorly-understood derivatives scheme. According to the Times “Many of the deals are faltering because of the credit crisis and have put the agencies at risk of having to make large payments to banks and insurers. Last month, the agencies asked the government to back their role in the deals. The I.R.S., which banned the shelter in 2004, offered a so-called amnesty in August to more than 45 corporations that engaged in more than 1,000 Silo deals involving municipal property.” The House bailout bill also includes a cost-of-living pay increase for Federal district judges, reports the Wall Street Journal. In lieu of (what might be an all-too obvious) editorial commentary, let me simply say that if and when this bill fails, the world will not end. The American economy is incredibly resilient, and real opportunities will arise from the creative destruction of a GM reorganization. It won’t be easy, but it couldn’t be more necessary. Good afternoon, and good luck.

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  • Ronin Ronin on Dec 12, 2008

    Everybody already knew that the bailout would do absolutely nothing to increase sales of too-expensive cars. Everybody always already knew this bailout would do nothing beyond a couple months, unless it was the harbinger of perpetual rolling layouts. It didn't matter, cuz Congress always knew the bailout was about pork to the UAW; payback to unions for very strong Dem support- monetary and influence and working- in the last few elections. The unions chose their sides. And instead of rolling over the Republicans told them too bad so sad. This is what happens when you pay brinksmanship in the big leagues. Hopefully this breaks the back of the UAW, to the benefit of workers and consumers who would actually like to buy an affordable American car. If it turns out later that labor is treated badly, they can always choose to form another union. Just like labor at the Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, BMW, Nissan, Subaru, etc etc plants in the US did.

  • Jolo Jolo on Dec 12, 2008

    This is a great time to file for chapter 11. This is December, when car sales are low anyway. Let them get the judge to issue the marching orders and let their PR folks remind people that it will be alright to buy from their cars because the government will back up their warranties. By the time January and February come around, when people start considering new cars, everything will be in order and they will not see too much of a drop, at least not much more than what has been happening for decades.

  • Tassos Subaru really knows how to take fugly to ever higher levels, and sell every one of the (of course very few) it makes. As if the number of sales negates the fugliness.Don't hold your breath. I bet this will NOT be the vehicle James Bond arrives at the Casino in Monte Carlo with in his next flick. (if any)
  • ToolGuy Government overreach. Park the Ford in your air-conditioned garage on a maintenance charger and this won't be a problem.Here's some (old) general background if you are interested.@ILO, there are 3 Fords, and Ford Pro™ is the one with the bright future 🙂
  • ToolGuy No harm no foul (no one died), business is business, yada yada. Why must everyone pick on dealers?-this post dedicated to Ruggles
  • Hydrocrust Parts
  • ToolGuy The vehicle development process which gave the world the Neon was so amazing (according to the automotive press) that it prompted Rick Wagoner to hire Bob Lutz.Didn't work 🙂