Economics

As GM Gets a-Moving (in a Chevy Cobalt!) Toward Bankruptcy, Let's Ask Whether Taxpayers Should Bail Out the Makers of the Pontiac Aztek…

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To ask that question is, Glaucon, to answer it.

If GM can just get a few more line workers to help push it into bankruptcy court, that's where they'll almost certainly be by the end of the week. So says The Week, which quotes Reuters scribe Matthew DeBord as writing that a feller must "have a cold and mercenary character" not to be saddened by that outcome.

As a relatively satisfied Buick owner, color me Stealth Grey Metallic cold and mercenary. I feel bad for all the folks who are going to lose their jobs in the inevitable downsizing of the company, but come on already, GM is a company that for decades extracted all sorts of extra money (via direct and indirect subsidies, bought-and-paid-for legislators and egregious labor agreements, and so much more) from me, you, and every goddamn taxpayer on the planet. Time for GM to follow Woolworth's (and Woolco, the Andrew Ridgeley of discount retailers), and A&P, and thousand thousand other once-great companies into the void. Or Chapter 11, assuming they actually don't simply use congressional muscle to screw over their actual creditors.

Watch Reason.tv's Bailing Out the Big Three:


And watch yours truly debating GM bankruptcy on CNBC's Power Lunch:

 

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  1. . So says The Week, which quotes Reuters scribe Matthew DeBord as writing “have a cold and mercenary character” not to be saddened by that outcome.

    I give up.

    Huh?

  2. excellent work, reasonoids!

  3. If we let General Motors go bankrupt, nobody will ever be able to buy a car again!

  4. If GM can just get a few more line workers to help push it into bankruptcy court, that’s where they’ll almost certainly be by the end of the week.

    I give slightly better than even odds that they will get bailed out again and an extension on their deadline for reorganizing outside of bankruptcy.

  5. Pardon me while I do my cold and mercenacry dance on GM’s grave.

    Unfortunately, as a Zombie company, I expect the Witch Doctors in Congress will soon be reanimating it again.

    Coming soon to a wallet near you:

    Night of the Living Bailout

  6. …and Woolco…

    Woolco was no Prange Way. (See more “Defunct discount stores of the United States”.)

    …and A&P…

    Um, A&P is still around–although it’s a lot smaller than it was at its peak.

  7. Stealth Gray Metallic is the black leather jacket of car colors.

    Or, is Nick’s car wrapped in a custom-made black leather jacket?

  8. We’re “investing” in our future by building totally unprofitable* cars.

    * VOLTs for everyone!

  9. The Chevy Volt makes me especially mad. GM over the last few years has spent billions on this car, which, even at $42000, they admit cannot be sold profitably. So why does a car company that is already circling the drain spend billions on a car that will lose money for several years at least?

    GM has long since given up on being genuinely profitable. THe Volt is just a bone they can throw to Obama so he can pretend like GM is environmentally responsible and innovative. That way he can justify nationalizing the company.

  10. Maybe it’s just my limited worldview, but it seems that people want to freeze in time everything they know and love, or have known and loved in their lifetime. Take Venice, for example: Never mind that the history of Venice is one of change (buildings sunk; the Italians tore them down and built on top of the old structures); NOW we have to keep Venice just the way it is, because that’s the way we know it now. Or the environment. Never mind the arbitrariness of the endpoint. So of course GM must be saved, because…well, it’s always been around, and I just don’t know what we’d do if it weren’t.

  11. The makers of the Aztek may need Chrysler’s saviour and maker of the Multipla, the only vehicle in the world that makes the Aztek look good, Fiat to rescue them too.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_Multipla (see picture of 1st Generation Multipla at upper right)

  12. (see picture of 1st Generation Multipla at upper right)

    Sweet Zombie Jesus! That car’s ugly enough to be a librarian! Maybe even a cataloger!

  13. So says The Week, which quotes Reuters scribe Matthew DeBord as writing that a feller must “have a cold and mercenary character” not to be saddened by that outcome.

    Driving a cobalt will cure you of any sympathy for these idiots. I also had to rent an Impala shortly afterward, and I swear I was driving the exact same car. Cheap shitty plastic, ridiculously unresponsive and sluggish controls, and horribly generic interior. Time to throw in the towel.

  14. (see picture of 1st Generation Multipla at upper right)

    It looks like two gay cars humping!

    NTTAWWT

  15. a feller must “have a cold and mercenary character” not to be saddened by that outcome.

    I can be saddened by the outcome without simultaneously demanding that billions of dollars be transferred from the public fisc into the pockets of those responsible for this outcome.

  16. Wasn’t the whole point of the auto bailouts to keep GM out of bankruptcy? Am I wrong about that? Why in hell didn’t we just let this happen months and billions of dollars ago.

  17. BK

    You seem to be under the unfortunate misapprehension that government programs are supposed to do what they say they will do.

  18. I remember on the first season of Survivor they gave the winner a Pontiac Aztek.

    The losers each got two Azteks.

  19. “So why does a car company that is already circling the drain spend billions on a car that will lose money for several years at least?”

    Because it gives them a good political angle to get government money.

  20. Wasn’t the whole point of the auto bailouts to keep GM out of bankruptcy?

    The point was to insulate the UAW against the consequences of failing businesses. If that can be done in bankruptcy (as appears to be the case with Chrysler), then bankruptcy is just fine.

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