Struggling carmaker GM is getting a cold response to its demand for another $10 billion from the feds (this comes after a $25 billion plan for the Big 2.5 was passed not so long ago).
Treasury officials were said to be reluctant to broaden the $700 billion financial rescue program to include industrial companies or to play a part in a GM-Chrysler merger that could cost tens of thousands of jobs.
But it remained unclear whether the officials were also seeking to avoid making any decision that would conflict with the goals of a new presidential administration. The Democratic candidate, Senator Barack Obama, has said in recent days that he supports increasing aid to the troubled auto companies, while Senator John McCain has not said whether he would support aid beyond the $25 billion.
My sympathies are with the owners of GM and Chrysler cars, not those products' makers (and goddamn it, I drive a 1999 Buick—where's my bailout?). While I'm glad to see the Treasury say no to anyone these days, even for a nanosecond, there's still too much bailout money being lobbed in every possible direction.
Prediction: The next big bailout to the auto industry will be taking on some or all or most of the companies' massively underfunded pension liability via the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.