Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: May 27, 2011


Your universe as seen from your home planet

Amazing :

 

 

 

What makes this time lapse particularly amazing–because we’ve all seen plenty of time lapse videos of the night sky–is the four telescopes in the foreground. Watching these instruments work against a black background would be endlessly fascinating on its own. Unfortunately you won’t be able to pay them too much attention. Because damn, what a sky.

Watch it on full screen if you can.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


The fake Chrysler loan “payoff”

You probably remember when GM made the big announcement that it had paid off its loans from the bailout?  You most likely also remember that subsequent investigation found that GM was simply using borrowed money from a government extended line of credit to “pay back” part of what was loaned under the bailout?  In other words it took taxpayer money extended under the LOC and gave it to the government as a payment of “debt”.  Overall, though, it’s debt remained the same.

This week Chrysler went through the same sort of shenanigans as Conn Carroll reports:

American taxpayers have already spent more than $13 billion bailing out Chrysler. The Obama administration already forgave more than $4 billion of that debt when the company filed for bankruptcy in 2009. Taxpayers are never getting that money back. But how is Chrysler now paying off the rest of the $7.6 billion they owe the Treasury Department?

The Obama administration’s bailout agreement with Fiat gave the Italian car company a “Incremental Call Option” that allows it to buy up to 16% of Chrysler stock at a reduced price. But in order to exercise the option, Fiat had to first pay back at least $3.5 billion of its loan to the Treasury Department. But Fiat was having trouble getting private banks to lend it the money. Enter Obama Energy Secretary Steven Chu who has signaled that he will approve a fuel-efficient vehicle loan to Chrysler for … wait for it … $3.5 billion.

This is simply more smoke and mirrors from the “Smoke and Mirrors” administration, now engaged in pre-election image burnishing.  In fact, the payback (someone call Debbie Wasserman Shultz) involves allowing a foreign auto company to take more control of Chrysler and then tossing a loan for 3.5 billion from government on top of the Fiat purchase of Chrysler stock at a reduced price.

They want you to believe this signals a stronger and profitable Chrysler.  In fact, it is a pathetic attempt to fool the public.

But it is even worse than that:

So, to recap, the Obama Energy Department is loaning a foreign car company $3.5 billion so that it can pay the Treasury Department $7.6 billion even though American taxpayers spent $13 billion to save an American car company that is currently only worth $5 billion.

Oh, and Obama plans to make this “success” a centerpiece of his 2012 campaign.

Again, don’t forget the $4 billion in loans the Obama administration has “forgiven” that taxpayers will never get back – all in an effort to make this truly horrendous deal for taxpayers seem better than it is so he can claim credit for “saving the US auto industry” during the coming political re-election campaign.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Politics 101

One of the basic laws of politics, which even the kid running for class president should know, is if you’re going to bash your opponent on an issue, you’d better have your ducks in a row on that issue or it is you who will come out looking idiotic.

Debbie Wasserman Shultz, the chairwoman of the DNC, recently tore into the GOP presidential contenders who were opposed to the bailouts for GM and Chrysler.

"If it were up to the candidates for president on the Republican side, we would be driving foreign cars; they would have let the auto industry in America go down the tubes," she said at a breakfast for reporters organized by The Christian Science Monitor.

As you’ve probably already guessed Wasserman Shultz doesn’t drive an American car, and certainly not a GM or Chrysler model.  Nope – she drives an Infinity.  It’s up to the little people, apparently, to “buy American”.

There are several ways Wasserman Shultz could have approached this issue without inserting “foreign cars” into the mix.  But she didn’t.  Apparently she didn’t think about her words at all before she spoke out.   She comes from the “blurt and backpedal” school of politics which makes for great blogging fodder for those of us out here in the blogosphere. 

Of course, the fact is the federal government shouldn’t have been involved in the bailouts and had the two car companies gone into bankruptcy, they’d have most likely emerged by now, leaner, meaner and more fiscally sound.   As it stands now, we simply don’t know if they have the long range fiscal soundness they need to compete and make a consistent profit because, that process was interrupted and we ended up subsidizing failure and discouraged future investors with the way the previous investors were treated (compensated) and how ownership was then divided.

"They can try to distract from the issue if they want," said DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan. "But if Republican opposition researchers are snooping around garages, they should know that if Republicans — who said that we should let the U.S. auto industry go bankrupt — had their way, they wouldn’t find a single American made car anywhere."

Uh, hello in there – Ford? 

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO