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According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the liberals are piling on draconian conditions to the Detroit "bailout" bill.
Not only are the liberals demanding a substantial equity stake in any company that partakes in the loan fund and an "Auto Czar" to micromanage how the loan funds are spent, but they apparently intend to heap the bill with noxious environmental language:
"One danger for auto makers is exposing the industry to congressional meddling as it attempts to build a new business model. The legislation, among other things, would bar the companies from participating in legal challenges to state laws designed to impose limits on greenhouse-gas emissions. The White House opposes that provision, congressional aides said.
The big three would have to analyze whether excess production capacity could be used to make trains and buses for public transit authorities."
These provisions are an unnecessary and dangerous diversion from the helping the Detroit 3 cope with the storm of unfunded mandates, market meddling, and economic collapse generated by decades of Washington's ham-fisted interference in the Detroit 3's business.
Truth With Speedzzter has previously written extensively about the danger of state-level anti-carbon litigation. See e.g. "Automakers Win One in California"
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Now Congressional liberals seek to "cram down" their vision of forcing all Americans into unsafe, low-performance 60+ m.p.g. microcars (or government-run, taxpayer subsidized mass transit) by holding an economic gun to the heads of Chrysler and General Motors.
Even the United Auto Workers is poised to pile on. As a compensation for the "haircut" that the Detroit 3 loan legislation will require, the UAW wants more control over the Detroit 3's operations.
"[T]he United Auto Workers union is seeking to attach strings to any concessions it makes for the Big Three. Marc McQuillen, president of UAW Local 2404 in Charlotte, N.C., said the union is looking for an equity stake in GM and likely a seat on the company's board."
All of this will hammer GM's current shareholders by dilution. However, the liberals know that the alternative for shareholders in bankruptcy is even worse. Shareholders typically stand last in line in bankruptcy.
IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF THE END FOR FACTORY INVOLVEMENT IN MOTORSPORTS?
If the greeniac liberals seize control of Chrysler and GM, the portions of the automakers important to motoring and motorsports enthusiasts may be axed in a "brave new world" of government-run automaking. It is unlikely that a de facto nationalization of GM and Chrysler will continue "marketing" or "support" for a vast panopoly of enthusiast and motorsports activities.
The articles of the liberal Greeniac faith are opposed to most of the bedrock principles of automotive choice.
"Nobody needs a car with more than 200 horsepower."
"Almost nobody needs a truck or an SUV."
"V8s are irresponsible gross polluters."
"We MUST double fuel economy standards for the good of the country."
"We need fewer highways and more public transportation."
"We need to keep fuel prices high to break our 'addiction' to oil and cut carbon emissions"
"We need to 'recycle' (scrap) old cars and 'encourage' ownership of new 'green' vehicles.
Truth With Speedzzter had previously predicted the end of the Second Supercar Era.
But the Detroit 3 loan legislation is shaping up as not as a gradual return to the automotive dark ages of the 1970s (this time in even more regulated government-designed motorcars), but a sudden cataclysm that will wipe out a good portion of OEM motorsports.
Most certainly, ordinary working Joes need not apply.
Of course, a few rich guys will still trade impossibly expensive rides at Barrett-Jackson. But what, if anything, that's left of genuine high performance will be so limited in supply and so expensive that ordinary high performance auto enthusiasts would have to live in their cars to afford one.
Don't believe it?
According to Barack Obama's campaign website, "Obama will double fuel economy standards within 18 years."
Apparently, that means that he supports an increase in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standard from the recently-enacted 35 miles per gallon to SEVENTY miles per gallon! (Even if Obama merely wanted to "double" the old CAFE standard, he'd be imposing by big government mandate a FIFTY-SIX miles per gallon average on all light vehicles sold in the United States of America)
BUT WITH LIBERAL STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL PERMITTED UNFETTERED ACCESS TO THE LIBERAL COURTS TO RATCHET UP "LOCAL" STANDARDS, OBAMA'S MISGUIDED CAFE TARGETS MAY BE THE "BEST CASE SCENARIO!"
Such radical fuel economy proposals would plunge the world of high-performance and sports cars into an age of banishment far worse than the "dark ages" of the 1970s.
A tiny three-cylinder turbo diesel would be the "Shelby GT 500" or "Dodge Viper" "musclecar" of the Obama age of government-controlled motoring.
If auto enthusiasts still remain skeptical of the liberal OBAMAcrats intention to destroy all semblance of automotive freedom in America, Obama's next proposal ought to remove all doubt: "Obama supports implementation of a . . . system to reduce carbon emissions by . . . 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050."
Such a "system" would undoubtedly target the new and used parts supplies for keeping "classic" and "special interest" motorcars on the road (if not the vehicles themselves) as energy-thirsty industries sought to "offset" industrial uses of power through "cap and trade" deals. Chevron's infamous car crushing program of the early 1990s is just a harbinger of what's sure to follow if "President Obama" attempts to roll back energy use to EIGHTY PERCENT LESS than 1990.
The automotive aftermarket won't go unscathed, either.
Energy conservation standards will likely be expanded to stop "tampering" that potentially increases greenhouse gas emissions. In other words, huge swaths of bolt-on parts could be regulated out of existence.
Many smaller aftermarket companies and shops will see huge tax increases and other expensive mandates which will be passed along to a shrinking customer base as higher prices.
Fewer new OEM performance cars will mean lower demand for hop-up parts. Reduced sales volumes will mean higher prices, less selection and slower product development times.
The Detroit 3 loan legislation is the "Trojan Horse" the liberal Greeniacs will apparently use to "burn down" what's left of automotive freedom in America.
Yet what choice do GM and Chrysler have. If they don't go along, they will run out of money and die in bankruptcy.
Today is a horrible day for automobility in America.
Still, some manage to find spots of humor amid the chaos.
Turbo Ted on the Car Craft Magazine Forum made these observations a few days ago:
The first time the Detroit 3 suits private-jetted to Washington, they only wanted a $25 Billion loan from us taxpayers.
But the dog ate their homework and they were sent packing until they came up with a new "plan."
But this time, after kickin' back over Thanksgiving with some turkey and another thrilling DETROIT LIONS LOSS -- and with their homework in hand -- they "Americruised" into D.C., begging for $34 Billion!
Maybe Congress should have taken the first deal.
Or maybe this IS the first deal . . . after the "F&I" guys in the back finished adding on all of the extended warranties, Scotchgard (tm), paint sealer, window tinting, undercoating, pen-striping, credit life insurance, "gap" insurance . . . .
(That last joke is a lot funnier if you've purchased a new car at some point in the past couple of decades)
Or maybe it just costs a lot more to "road trip" to the U.S. Capitol than to jet in . . . . $34,000,000,000.00 will buy a lot of beef jerky, Big Gulps (tm), and Pizza Pockets**
**(A handful of long-time [Car Craft] readers (e.g. gray-haired, chronically-unemployed bums wearing "Foghat" t-shirts and "Members Only" "racing" jackets) will remember the infamous and ineffective "Pizza Pocket Cruise Control" from the CC Americruise days.)"
Of course, when this is all over, probably the only folks able to laugh will be the radical greens who are invading Detroit by force of law.