For me, the most frustrating part of the massive bailout for the failing big businesses of America (like GM and the big banking interests) is not how much money the taxpayers had to shell out (though that was rather frustrating). It’s one simple fact—the bailouts propped up businesses that should have died. The bailouts rewarded mediocrity and punished excellence.
I hate my bank—Chase. I used to be a very happy customer of Washington Mutual. Do you remember them? They had generally happy and cheerful employees. They pioneered free checking. They rarely upheld overdraft fees. They had a play area for your kids at every bank. They didn’t nickel and dime their customers. They realized that the money in your accounts is still your money, so you were their highest priority. They also didn’t get any bailout money. Too bad for them.
J. P. Morgan Chase did get bailout money. Because they were overloaded with toxic assets. One of the things they did with their government-funded resurrection was buy Washington Mutual. So now, I have to deal with Chase—an inferior bank. I could switch banks. But pretty much all the banks I could go to are all bailout comrades. Bummer.
And now we get to the sad story of another bailout comrade—GM. They were also mediocre. Exceedingly, famously so. Unions kept them from innovating, kept work quality at shoddy levels, and made sure prices were not competitive. Unions almost single-handedly shifted labor and manufacturing overseas. And guess what? That ended up meaning GM was on the verge of death. They should have been allowed to die.
Instead, taxpayers spent billions propping them up. Taxpayer money propped up Chrysler long enough for its assets to be shifted to the Italian-owned Fiat—a merger the Obama administration considered a victory.
And then, there was GM. “Bin Laden is dead and GM is alive.” That was Obama’s famous summary of his successes as president. Well, I never saw Bin Laden’s body, and reports of GM’s life have been greatly exaggerated.
Officials at GM have apparently known since 2001 that ignition switches in most of their models are faulty. By faulty, they mean that they will actually shut off your car at random. Say you’re on the highway speeding along at 70 mph, and all of a sudden, your car just dies. Power brakes? Nope. Power steering? Nope. You’re going to crash. And people did. Faulty GM ignition switches are being directly implicated in 31 collisions and twelve deaths.
That is tragic. Taxpayers pay for GM to survive. GM repays us by continuing its legacy of mediocrity. And it hides that mediocrity for fear of a financial loss for so long that at least a dozen taxpayers actually die as a result. That disgusts me. Every single person at GM and in the civil government that knew of this should be charged with murder. And when the lawsuit against GM goes through and further bankrupts this obsolete dinosaur, please please let it die this time.