Bailout Watch 559: Barney Frank: "Saved GM Facility Was 'Environmentally Sound'"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

After my Wall Street Journal Op-Ed gave Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank serious shit for personally intervening with GM’s turnaround plans—to save a parts distribution warehouse in his district—the WSJ has gone on the attack. OK, sure, they would have done it anyway. It probably had nothing to do with me whatsoever. Anyway, personal ego issues aside, the WSJ‘s forced Barney to explain his influence-peddling. Apparently, it was OK for the TARP-meister to ring-up GM CEO Fritz Henderson and ask (demand?) for the Norton facility to remain open because . . . it’s not a factory or a dealership. The headline above offers the politician’s distinction. Which begs a number of questions: how is a parts distribution center environmentally friendly? Does he seriously expect us to believe that he acted to save the planet? And if he can mess with GM, what’s to stop his colleagues?

He said keeping the distribution center open was environmentally sound because otherwise auto parts would have had to be trucked to New England from a facility in Philadelphia. Mr. Frank also waved off a suggestion that the episode proved that rules are needed to stop lawmakers from jawboning to keep plants or dealerships open.

“I can’t make the connection” that would give the justification for such rules, Mr. Frank cheerfully says. After all, he added, he didn’t call the Obama administration to keep the Norton facility open, but instead went right to GM management.

WTF? WSJ writer John Fund goes for the kill.

Hmm. That’s an argument that disproves any hope of GM being run in a “nonpolitical” matter. On the contrary, the administration might have to intervene regularly just to protect the company from 535 legislators. GM Chief Henderson is hardly in a position to ignore requests from powerful committee chairmen like Mr. Frank, because GM will never be done needing government favors, from tax rebates for car buyers to fine-tuning of mileage rules.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Ras815 Their naming scheme is almost as idiotic as having a totally separate Polestar brand for EVs that look exactly Volvos. But you can tell it came from the same idiocy.
  • Dukeisduke "The EX naming convention is used for the automaker’s new and upcoming EVs, the EX30 and EX90."Only upcoming when they can figure out the software.
  • SCE to AUX I've always said that consumer/business pressures will reign in government decrees, as they have in the past in places like California. That state has moved the goalposts many times for "ZEV" mandates.But the problem is the depth of politicization of the EPA. Mfrs need continuity and long-term commitment to requirements, not living on a 4-year political cycle of who's in the White House and Congress. Your President - whomever that is - isn't going to be around forever.Ironically, backing off the gas means handing a greater lead to Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid, (and possibly H/K/G). The whiners have begun heavy investments whose ROI will be extended by years, and their EV sales will reduce even further.It's like the coach granting his players less practice time because they're tired, while the other team stays fit - that's how you lose the game.
  • Dukeisduke The administration is slowly dribbling out details of the change - it's like they don't want to piss off environmentalists, the auto manufacturers, or the UAW. John McElroy covered this very well in today's installment of Autoline Daily: AD #3751 - 2024 U.S. EV Sales Could Grow 43%; China Price War Spreads To ICE; U.S Vehicles Biggest Ever, Also Lowest CO2 - AutolineAlso, even though vehicles in the US have gotten larger, heavier, and more powerful (thanks to the shift away from sedans to trucks and SUVs), according to a year-end report by the EPA, in 2023, average fuel economy was at its highest ever, and CO2 emissions of new vehicles were at their lowest ever ( The 2023 EPA Automotive Trends Report: Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Fuel Economy, and Technology since 1975, Executive Summary (EPA-420-S-23-002, December 2023 ).
  • Golden2husky How about real names instead of alphabet/numeric soup?