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