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Romney’s continued attack on the auto industry

I’ve been been working on and off for the last two hours on trying to get a decent post together on Mitt Romney and his attack on the auto industry bailout. I have either writer’s block or brain freeze or some combination of both. Let’s see what Steve had to say on this subject

Mitt Romney has earned a well-deserved reputation for taking both sides of several dozen issues. As a rule, however, the Republican presidential hopeful tries to take these positions one at a time.

Romney’s position on President Obama’s rescue of the American automotive industry is a little more complicated. On the one hand, Romney wants to take credit for the policy, since he suggested managed bankruptcy. On the other hand, Romney wants to condemn the same policy, at the same time, since Obama used public funds to keep the industry’s head above water during the restructuring process.

The Detroit Free Press’ Tom Walsh, who talked to Romney about this the other day, noted the former governor “must be exhausted from trying to twist the facts into a narrative that sounds (a) like he’s happy for Detroit auto workers who still have jobs and are sharing in profits; (b) yet also virulently anti-Obama and anti-labor-union.”

It’s this same twisting that leaves Romney saying strange things.

Romney insisted … he would have steered the companies into managed bankruptcy — but with loan and warranty guarantees, not tens of billions of dollars in bailout cash.

And who would have made the big loans that Romney would have federally guaranteed? The private credit markets were frozen in the financial panic of late 2008 and early 2009, leading many experts to conclude that no private lender would have stepped up to finance bankruptcies as huge and risky as those of GM and Chrysler.

When I pressed Romney on this point, he insisted that if the U.S. Treasury issued bonds or guarantees, plenty of private lenders would have surfaced.

No serious person believes this, not even those who used to agree with him on the issue. Does Romney even remember the crash and near collapse of the global financial system? It’s why a Chrysler executive responded last year to Romney’s position by suggesting he’s “smoking illegal material.”

On CBS News last night, General Motors Chairman and CEO Daniel Akerson wasn’t quite that colorful, but when asked about Romney’s argument, Akerson responded, “I think you could have written off this company, this industry, and this country” with such an approach.

Mike Jackson, chairman and CEO of AutoNation, added that Romney’s argument is “reckless, detached from reality, and dishonest.”

By |2012-02-18T18:01:47-04:00February 18th, 2012|Economy, Party Politics|Comments Off on Romney’s continued attack on the auto industry

Better fuel economy for the future?

Now, I am old enough to remember the gas crisis of the mid-to-late 1970s. As a matter fact, I remember one of our debate topics (yes, I was a nerd and I took debate in high school) was on alternative fuels. There was a huge panic that there were not enough economical cars. The average Cadillac and Lincoln Town Car only got 10-12 miles to the gallon. All you had to do was to see those lines. Some people waited in line for hours. Others tried to beat the lines and showed up first thing in the morning before the gas stations would open. Many gas stations ran out of gas. Jimmy Carter and the leading experts talked about conservation. Everybody started making more fuel-efficient cars. Then, out of nowhere, the gas crisis abated. Ronald Reagan was elected and he didn’t believe in conservation. He didn’t believe in alternative fuels. Over the next 10 years, Americans cared less and less about how fuel-efficient their car was. That leads me to today. Now, everybody’s watching their pennies. If we can spend $20 at the gas pump as opposed to $40 (or more), we would rather spend the $20. Maybe, just maybe, the automakers will keep this fuel-efficient trend going.

From TP:

At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which opens to the public this weekend, advances in fuel economy are taking center stage. Thanks to aggressive leadership by the Obama administration, working in concert with the state of California and the unions and carmakers of the American auto industry, fuel economy standards are zooming toward an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. A Detroit Free Press editorial reports that the new fuel economy standards have breathed new life into American automobile manufacturers, spurring them to innovate new technologies and new styles. Their new cars — which reduce our vulnerability to the whims of Big Oil and lessen dangerous pollution — will be able to compete on the international stage, which has much higher standards for fuel efficiency:

Against the backdrop of the North American International Auto Show, which opens to the public Saturday, anything seems possible, including fuel efficiencies that seemed out of reach just a few years ago. The stylish introductions focused as much on engine and power configurations (hybrid, plug-in, turbocharged, direct injection, etc.) and weight-savings as they did on appearance.

“This year’s auto show proves beyond all doubt that fuel efficiency is no longer just a euphemism for ‘econobox,’” writes the Detroit Free Press. “With the long-term planning horizon offered by the new fuel efficiency rules, automakers can do far more than survive. They can thrive, they can do it with style and — most important to everyone around here — build the cars that people want to buy.”

By |2012-01-16T22:01:15-04:00January 16th, 2012|Energy, Environment|Comments Off on Better fuel economy for the future?
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