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Mary Barra And GM’s Recall Mess

GM’s CEO in the hot seat on Capitol Hill over messy recalls and maybe a cover up. We’ll look at what happened in the so-called “New Detroit.” Plus, a look at popular electric car company Tesla Motors.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 1, 2014, before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation.  (AP)

General Motors CEO Mary Barra testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 1, 2014, before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation. (AP)

We hear about the “new GM” and we want to believe it.  Then comes a story roaring up that makes you wonder.  GM recalling 2.6 million cars in the last few weeks after at least 13 deaths and a lot of accidents from a defective ignition switch.  A defect that GM knew about 13 years ago.  This week, GM’s new CEO Mary Barra in the hot seat in Congressional hearings.  Trying to explain why GM wouldn’t make a ninety-cent change that might have saved those lives.  The hot seat all the hotter because the public bailed out GM.  This hour On Point:  the GM recall mess, the “new GM” and CEO Mary Barra.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

David Shepardson, Washington, D.C. bureau chief for the Detroit News. (@davidshepardson)

Nick Bunkley, enterprise reporter for Automotive News. (@nickbunkley)

Micheline Maynard, visiting professor of business journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Contributor to Forbes. Author of “The End of Detroit: How The Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Market.” (@MickiMaynard)

From Tom’s Reading List

Detroit News: These words to haunt GM: ‘Acceptable business case’ — “None of it is likely to wipe a stain of callous indifference from a sprawling GM technical apparatus that approved a substandard ignition switch for its small-car program only to approve a second alleged “fix” that also failed to meet specifications set by GM itself — a conundrum that Barra, an automotive engineer, struggled to explain to the committee.

The Guardian: GM sold us on a comeback. Don’t buy a CEO’s apology – buy cars that are safe — “It seems foolish that any of GM’s fairy tale was believable to anyone. After the recalls and the estimates of driver deaths, all of that talk – of the reborn American automaker, of bets paid and dollars won – seems like a hollow spectacle. And it has to make us wonder: how much were US taxpayers and the government complicit in sustaining a company that researchers had already suggested was unable to compete in the modern automotive industry?”

Automotive News: The early warnings that GM missed — “For years, as drivers complained that their Cobalts and Ions were stalling repeatedly, GM treated it as a matter of customer satisfaction, not safety. Documents show that the company either didn’t grasp the significance of the problem or didn’t consider it worthy of resources.”

The Growth And Market Share Of Tesla Motors

Cory Johnson, co-anchor and editor at large of Bloomberg TV’s Bloomberg West. (@CoryTV)

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio Senate OKs compromise to allow 3 Tesla Motors stores in Ohio — ” Dealers said Tesla shouldn’t have been granted a license because state rules require an agreement between franchise dealers and manufacturers. But Tesla does not sell through franchised dealerships. Customers can visit small showrooms to look at cars, ask questions and take test drives, but they order and purchase vehicles online.”

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  • Yar

    Any technology has issues, more car wrecks are caused by cell phones each day than the ignition switch issue has caused in all the years it has existed. A drunk girl wrecks her car and because the air bag didn’t deploy her death is ruled GM’s fault. But GM isn’t who ultimately pays for the deaths or for fixing these problems. We all pay because claims and the repairs are added in on the cost of new cars, and not just GM cars but all cars. That is how the market works. The public pays for mistakes and even the negligence of corporations. BP, Freedom Industries, Duke Energy, TVA, when we use products or services we pay all the costs associated with providing those services. Court judgments, recalls are part of the cost of doing business. This is the way markets work, and regulators are part of those ever increasing costs because they have gotten fine happy, they fund regulation with huge fines and we are left to pay the bills.

    • dust truck

      Some big leaps in logic you got there…

      • Yar

        At least it is logic, the blame game lacks logic!

        • The_Truth_Seeker

          You mean NOTHING can make costs go down??!! Like better safety and better regulations to increase safety? Like forcing more competition by eliminating monopolies? Like fines and jail for people who do really bad things (like polluting)? Like putting really bad companies out of business?

          Costs don’t just go up, they can go down too. Manufacturing costs have gone WAY down, even in the U.S. because of automation. Self driving cars will all but eliminate car crashes – even if you are drunk or texting like mad! You are just trying to smear everything all together so that it means nothing anymore – just a bunch of “gobbledygook”.

      • The_Truth_Seeker

        Yeah, actually pretty BIZARRE-O!

  • Oh bummer

    This is exactlywhat happens when you let a bunch left-wing democrats, with no business experience, run a multi-billion dollar car company.

    • Ray in VT

      Mary Barra was a community organizer?

      • Oh bummer

        Barra is just a figure head . Obama is the de facto C.E.O. of GM, which also explains why GM is in such dire straits.

        • Ray in VT

          Sure. More of the vast conspiracy that only the gifted can truly see. This one very troubling incident aside, it seems that GM is doing pretty well.

          • Oh bummer

            ‘GM is doing pretty well’
            Is that why Chevrolet announced it’s pulling out of Europe? It sounds more like people in Europe don’t want GM’s lousy cars.

          • Ray in VT

            Is that why Opel sales were up in 2013?

          • Oh bummer
          • Ray in VT

            Where it is doing little, so that it can focus on Europe. Buick, however, is doing quite well in China. It seems like a good business decision if being in China costs Opel more than it makes.

          • The_Truth_Seeker

            So, you’ve never owned a GM car? Chrysler made crappier cars than GM did and Americans still bought them by the millions. What does that have to do with anything? Did you call for American car makers to get better fuel economy, or make safer cars? Somehow, I don’t think you ever did! I bet you bought a bunch of those gas guzzlers and probably still drive one. What?? You drive a Honda, or Toyota? Yeah, sure you do!

          • The_Truth_Seeker

            People didn’t want to go to a “lousy” war in Iraq either, but I don’t think you criticized Bush, even after we learned there were no WMD. That little bit of “guessing”, “gambling” and “Presidential leadership” cost the country one trillion dollars (and lots of lives). You can always try to recover money, you can’t recover lost and ruined lives.

            If Obama has wasted any money at all, in all of his decisions combined, it’s less than 1% of what BUSH made us waste (we all got the bill for that one – big time). I say we should have sent the bill to Donald Rumsfeld – with interest!!

        • nj_v2

          And it looks like you’re the new de facto C.E.O. of the forum conservoclown posse. Congratulations! You have some tough competition, but i’m sure you’ll do well.

          You did miss an opportunity here, though. Forgot to include “socialist” in your little mini-rant. “Left-wing” doesn’t really cover it. And you probably could have worked in “Kenyan” somehow, too. Just some tips for next time.

          • Oh bummer

            Ray in VT is intelligent, but politically misguided. You’re just a mind-less Obamanoid not worthy of engaging in political conversation with. Go crawl back in your troll cage.

          • nj_v2

            Looks like you’ve got it all figured out. An assertive confidence informed by ignorance will serve you well in your new position. Good luck!

          • Oh bummer

            I don’t claim to be the smartest guy around, but I at least have enough sense not to swallow the lies and propaganda being put out by Obama that you are only to happy to swallow.
            Happy ‘swallowing’ nj_v2.

          • Ray in VT

            Yet you repeat claims made by outlets promoting the view of the Kremlin regarding Ukraine. Are you not critical of those sources and their ties?

          • Oh bummer

            When have you quoted a source that was even slightly critical of Obama?

          • Ray in VT

            When I have felt like it and felt that it was justified. It still doesn’t answer my question as to why you repeat claims made by an outlet closely tied to Vladimir Putin’s government.

          • The_Truth_Seeker

            What position? Head between his legs?

          • Oh bummer

            It’s better than your position Igor of always having your head up your ass.

          • nj_v2

            Time for concern, Ray? The insipid troll thinks you’re “intelligent.”

          • Oh bummer

            Ray is intelligent and he usually makes a strong argument. You’re just a moron. Nobody cares what you think about anything.

          • nj_v2

            Sad little troll. Come back when you’ve got 7,000 up votes.

          • Oh bummer

            I could care less how many votes a floating-turd like yourself has.

            You slavishly support a war criminal. That’s nothing to be proud of moron.

        • keltcrusader

          Could you describe what is it like to live in an alternate universe from everyone else?

          • Oh bummer

            You should already know, if not, then consult your social worker.

          • keltcrusader

            I would think your therapist would help you with your delusions. You should really ask or you are just wasting the money.

          • Oh bummer

            Who gave you permission to leave you troll cage?
            You’d better scurry back in otherwise somebody might have you skinned and gutted and decide to make Irish stew out of you.

          • keltcrusader

            lol, yeah, so ouch? The only troll here I see is you and you are, apparently, not very sane or bright. But that is not surprising considering…….

          • Oh bummer

            Seriously, have the Irish ever won a war? If you’re from that gene pool, then it’s to see why the Irish are such terminal losers.

          • keltcrusader

            really, is that the best you’ve got? pretty pathetic, but truly understandable considering the source.

          • jefe68

            And yet so many of the best writers are Irish. You can add illiteracy to this trolls many achievements.

          • Oh bummer

            God bless the United Kingdom.

          • Human2013

            Wow….I love it when you guys can’t help but display your Disdain for the victims of War. Your anit-humanity rhetoric is such a nice companion to your conservatism!

          • Oh bummer

            You’re the one who supports a President whose illegal drone strikes have killed innocent people in Somalia, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen, which doesn’t seem to bother you in the least. That would why you’re explain a liberal. None of your reasoning makes sense.

          • The_Truth_Seeker

            Oh, and Bush did what in Iraq (including American soldiers)? Let’s compare the body counts, shall we?

          • Oh bummer

            I’d be willing to bet your surplus govt. cheese Igor, that Obama will surpass Bush in terms of innocent civilians killed.

            Wouldn’t that be ‘historic’.

          • The_Truth_Seeker

            I bet you are all of five feet tall, balding and fat (that explains all the compensation).

          • Oh bummer

            Is that the man of your dreams Igor?

          • The_Truth_Seeker

            I think it’s called his mother’s basement!

          • Oh bummer

            Take your meds Igor.

    • Human2013

      I think what you meant to say was that this is what happens when Corporations put profits ahead of their customer’s safety.

      • Oh bummer

        Obama was under the impression that being a community organizer would provide him with the sufficient knowledge and experience to run GM, as well as the world’s largest economy. It didn’t, Obama is running GM and the US economy into the ground.

        • Human2013

          I would direct you away from this conversation and into the last several administrations, mostly Reagan’s, economic policies — unrelgulated markets, favorable taxation for corporations/wealthy, reducing the power of collective bargaining.

          “The Reagan-Bush years have exalted private gain over public obligation, special interests over the common good, wealth and fame over work and family. The 1980s ushered in a Gilded Age of greed and selfishness, of irresponsibility and excess, and of neglect.”

          President Clinton

        • Human2013

          Please tell me what the movie Star Reagan learned about global economics while sitting on the set of “Bedtime for Bonzo”.
          I’ll take community organizing, thank you.

          • hennorama

            Human2013 — TY for the reminder of the high-larious Bedtime For Bonzo. When Reagan was first elected, a group of friends got together for a Ronnie Raygun film festival, and BFB was a big hit.

            Of course, the consumption of herbal delights might have been a factor.

          • Oh bummer

            I’ll take Reagan any day over the current squatter in the White House, who has added $7 trillion to the national debt in only five years!

          • Ray in VT

            The inflation adjusted deficit Reagan ballooned under Reagan, while it has come down significantly under Obama.

          • jefe68

            Notice the language, “current squatter in the White House”.

          • Ray in VT

            Yup. Very interesting. Also noted: “your president”.

          • jefe68

            The subtext is obvious. I bet this chap is a riot after a few beers.

          • The_Truth_Seeker

            Yup, more racist code!! To this guy, White Houses are only for White guys!! Wonder what he would say if it was an Asian woman in the White House?

          • Oh bummer

            Tesla was a genius. Nobody will ever mistake an idiot like you for Tesla.

            You’re dismissed Igor.

          • The_Truth_Seeker

            By today’s standards, Reagan was a moderate. It would kill you to even be in the same room with a moderate. Luckily, in another 50 years, people like you will be extinct (because you won’t even be able to feed yourselves, that’s how ignorant you all are).

          • jefe68

            That were all Bonzo’s on this bus?

          • The_Truth_Seeker

            More like what did even learn while being President? How to take naps in the afternoon?

        • Ray in VT

          So your contentions are that 1. Obama is running GM. 2. GM is running into the ground. 3. The U.S. economy is also running into the ground.

          1. Please show some evidence for this claim.

          2. Despite its current noted issues, it has had 16 consecutive profitable quarters, and its net income over the past two years is about $8.5 billion, so how is that “running into the ground”.

          3. Given the long term, although slower than desired, job growth in the U.S., and how just about all of economic indicators are trending in the right direction, how is the U.S. economy running into the ground?

          • HonestDebate1

            Would GM have manufactured the Volt if Obama hadn’t installed his CEO and decreed the taxpayers pay $7500 per? I doubt it.

            Could you run a successful company if government lent you $39 billion and didn’t require you to pay it all back? Is that really success?

            The LFPR has crashed. There are millions fewer available jobs. GDP is anemic when we haven’t a prayer without a sustained GDP of 7-9% or more. We are not creating enough jobs to keep up with population growth. And Obamacare’s crushing mandates have been delayed. There are more shoes to drop.

          • Ray in VT

            Yes, seeing as how the Volt was in development for years before the recession and the bailouts, I think that they would have produced it with or without the tax credits. So now you’re against tax credits that allow people to keep more of their money. You’re all over the place.

            Let us ask what would likely have been without the bailouts. I don’t particularly like them, but they were better than the alternative. Much of the money was paid back, and some argue, I think convincingly, that the losses/costs associated with GM going under would have been more than what the government took as a loss. Please, give me the line about how they wouldn’t have gone under. Please tell me where the funding was supposed to come from in a collapsing economy and a severe credit crunch.

            The LFPR has been declining for nearly a decade. It has “crashed” by a mere .7% in the past 2 years. That’s some crash. I’ll take the current GDP growth over the bubble and crash that Bush left us with. Good luck getting 7-9% annual GDP growth in any developed country, especially one that has gone down the path of a low wage for years.

            “We are not creating enough jobs to keep up with population growth.” Yet another dim opinion. We need about 100,000 jobs, and how many have been getting created? Less than that, right? Ah yes, the ACA will doom us all. DOOOOMMMM I say. Pathetic.

          • HonestDebate1

            “So now you’re against tax credits that allow people to keep more of their money. You’re all over the place.”

            Do you realize how vacuous that comment is? I oppose redistribution of wealth. It’s not the government’s money to give away. Every liberal tenet is designed to not allow people to keep their own money. It’s so ridiculous that a tax cut is claimed to be giving people money so to avoid that essential truth. Your comment is so warped on so many levels I can’t begin to condemn it enough. I didn’t get passed it and quit reading, Maybe I’ll read the rest after my morning chores are done.

          • Ray in VT

            “Do you realize how vacuous that comment is?”

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-Elr5K2Vuo

            Got it. Pass over the facts because you just full of b.s. It’s funny how the GOP Senator who gets tons of stuff from the government gets defended while people who are either poor or getting credits for something that you don’t like get criticized. More dishonest debate.

            Are you going to blame Obama because of your smokey skid steer?

          • HonestDebate1

            Oh man, you just keep digging. You can’t be serious.

            I never said they wouldn’t have gone under. Why do you always recast my comments beyond recognition? And remember they did go bankrupt despite the money thrown down a rat hole through the bailout that was supposed to prevent it. However, because of the bailout the bankruptcy had no teeth. So the talking point was changed to claims Obama saved GM and all those employees who would have lost their jobs. Never mind thousands of people did lose their jobs and bookoos of plants were closed. Just think of the hullabaloo if Romney had done it.

            Bankruptcy is a good thing. It would have been much better if GM had to actually restructure, address their pensions and labor cost, get in the real world in terms of the marketplace and actually sink or swim. If they couldn’t have survived then they should not be propped up. Someone else would have filled the void and things would have been better for the taxpayer. If GM has losses that their problem not the taxpayers. the taxpayers benefit when industry is force to live within their means.

            The LFPR does not stand for lipsticked fat pigs reinvented. Do you understand the difference between decline and plummet? Do you understand the meaning of 40 year low at a time when more people working is the only hope?

            And Bush again?! If you re implying Bush was the reason for the crash then that’s just too stupid to address.

            GDP recovered after TARP only to crash again because of Obama’s policies. It was 7-9% GDP that rescued us from the Carter debacle. Maybe you think all we need is to tax the rich a little more or spend our way out of debt, I don’t know. There is but one way, growth. That’s it. You are contradicting yourself if you say 7-9% GDP is impossible while simultaneously implying we are not doomed.

            And look at the jobs “added”! They are crappy, pay cut forcing, lack of upward mobility imposing part-time jobs. You’re living in a fantasy of ideological stupor.

          • Ray in VT

            Hey, did you not shovel enough dung during chores, as you seem to only want to shovel more upon us now.

            How much would you care to bet that I could find some of your past comments where you go on about how GM wasn’t going to go under without a bailout? Maybe Hennorama could give me an assist here. There is only so much dreck that one can sift through at once.

            So cutting the fat via bankruptcy was a bad thing? I bet that you would have a tough time selling that line to the people working at the GM plants now that got idled during the tough times. I know. Maybe I heard that GM is going to shift all of its production to China. If you want to fiddle while Rome burns and let the country go down the drain during an economic crisis then fine, but at least former President Bush had the good sense not to do that. Just let is all burn right. Who cares if people and communities suffer. It’s not you, after all.

            I’ve seen lipstick on a pig, at least when it’s on Faux. When did GDP crash again? I seem to recall Bush being President when that happened. 17 of the last 18 quarters of GDP have been positive. What a terrible record!

            So it’s Obama’s fault too that companies like Walmart make billions of dollars in profits while sucking from the government teat, paying workers low wages and pressuring companies to ship jobs overseas? The man truly is all powerful. He should have just given Yanukovych a call and made that government pro-Western.

          • HonestDebate1

            Dig away, I am happy to defend what I wrote. Find where I said they were certain to survive without the bailout. The claim was they would go under without it which was anything but a certainty. I still say it would have been much better in the end.

            The bad thing was the bailout with prevented the need for GM to solve their problems and enabled them to survive by saddling the taxpayers andy nibbling around the edges.

            GDP went into negative territory in 2011 as I recall. Positive GDP is an awful low bar. We need much better than a dynamic where 3% would seem like heaven.

            The Walmart thing is stupid.

          • Ray in VT

            Like I said, there’s only so much dreck that one can go through. Considering the incredibly stupid and false things that you will defend (New Century Foundation on black violence, fighting the dictionary) it does not surprise me that you will defend any of the poorly sourced and/or inaccurate things that you post.

            So, 16 profitable quarters isn’t a sign that they solved their problems? Who knew. It must be pretty bad over there. I’d hate to be them.

            One negative quarter is a pretty low bar for “crash”, just like how you claimed that North Carolina’s previous governor left a state economy that was “collapsing”, despite the fact that it was growing. Maybe you don’t know, or just reject, the definitions of those words as well.

            What’s stupid? Your comments? Thanks for agreeing with me. There is hope for you yet.

          • The_Truth_Seeker

            GDP has almost nothing to do with job creation! Jobs numbers are going up, that’s what counts right now.We can worry about GDP (which mostly affects the rich), later.

          • HonestDebate1

            More jobs means more taxpayers, production and revenue. That equates to a higher GDP.

          • The_Truth_Seeker

            Yeah, that’s right too (sometimes)!! Glad you agree that it’s job creation that has the biggest bang for the buck (of investment, bailouts, subsidies and tax breaks)!

            More jobs, more jobs (the GDP will take care of itself)!

          • HonestDebate1

            I agree whole heartedly.

          • Ray in VT

            Raising the minimum wage would help many, but people need the “liberty” to make as little as the market will let them. Damn the gub’ment for stealing their rat to work for less.

          • Ray in VT

            Also, that quarter of GDP decline occurred in the first quarter of 2011. Interesting how the first quarter that the TEA Party got up to the Hill that GDP declined. Just an early sign of the sort of disaster that that movement is for America.

          • Ray in VT

            Also, what do you mean by putting added in quotes? Care to bring up the ridiculous argument that the Obama administration is cooking the jobs numbers?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            We can debate the societal merits of $7500 Volt tax credits but what is the societal benefit for a tax credit for a $100K Tesla? I don’t see ANY justification. Not a smidgeon.

            George Clooney will purchase the Tesla with or without that tax credit.

          • hennorama

            WftC — as you know, Bill O’Reilly disagrees with both you and his sparring partner, Eric Bolling.

            For those who don’t know, Bill O’Reilly is pro-Tesla in a very big way. He had a pro-Tesla segment on his show on Monday, and last night debated the issue with fellow Foxite Eric Bolling of The Five.

            There’s plenty of coverage available on the web.

            From MEDIAite:

            O’Reilly argued not only that switching to Tesla cars would be the more environmentally conscious decision, but it would be a good way to stick it to OPEC and Vladimir Putin, telling Bolling “the greater good has to come into play.” Bolling brought up Solyndra to make the point that even if Tesla is a winner, the government shouldn’t pick and choose winners and losers by giving them money, bringing up companies like Apple and arguing that the government doesn’t need to get in the way of innovation.

            O’Reilly shot back, “This is about cleaner air and hurting the villains, so this is elevated above Apple and all the other computer products.” Bolling questioned whether average Americans want the government to be messing around like this, but O’Reilly insisted that “what they want is relief from OPEC” and Putin. Bolling said if that’s the case, fracking is the better way to go.

            There’s video, and a link to a piece about O’Reilly’s Monday show, on the site as well.

            See:
            http://www.mediaite.com/tv/oreilly-bolling-clash-over-tesla-embracing-it-hurts-villains-like-putin/

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            O’Reilly is pro-electric car. He was using the Tesla as an example. Apparently, he had a woody over a 60 minutes segment on Tesla this past weekend. As usual, O’Reilly’s arguments are overly simplistic and he is full of himself.

            However, I do hope electric cars do become competitive and can succeed without subsidies.

          • hennorama

            WftC — fair enough.

          • Red Sage

            Supposedly HonestDebate1 inquired, “Would GM have manufactured the Volt if Obama hadn’t installed his CEO and decreed the taxpayers pay $7500 per? I doubt it.”

            The Volt was green lighted by Bob Lutz during the George W. Bush administration.

          • HonestDebate1

            I actually did inquire but I don’t get your point. Bob Lutz is businessman not a government agent. I have no problem with a business taking risks. Look at Virgin’s intergalactic thing. GWB is irrelevant to the discussion other than he was the instigator of the disastrous bailout. He didn’t have anything to do with the Volt. The Volt is a failure. They are now slashing the price. The plant they built ended up getting shut down periodically as sales did not meet expectations. The Volt is not a success story. Bob Lutz says they should have made it a truck. I seriously doubt they would have gone forward if taxpayers were not forced to pay $7500 for each one sold. They couldn’t sell them even with it. It is a rich man’s toy and nothing else.

          • Ray in VT

            Disastrous? Not for the car companies or America. Maybe just for ‘Merica, where the government acting when the market can’t is bad, because it shows that the market doesn’t always work for people or a nation.

            Again, how is allowing people to keep more of their money “forcing” taxpayers to pay for it, as your argument has been that such tax breaks just let people keep more of what they make?

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — please allow a clarification of the facts.

            The Federal tax credits for electric and hybrid electric vehicles are nonrefundable. This means two things:

            1. Individual results will vary, as the actual credit will be from $0 up to a maximum of $7500, depending on the taxpayer’s tax liability.

            2. It is absolutely dishonest to claim “taxpayers were forced to pay $7500 for each one sold.”

            A final point: if no money changes hands, is anyone getting “paid”? I seem to recall someone arguing that tax breaks for high-income taxpayer don’t “trickle up” if they only lower their tax bill, allowing them to keep more of their own money.

            Pardon the interruption of your entertaining merry discourse, and please carry on.

          • HonestDebate1

            Tax credits cost the taxpayers money. Tax cuts allow people to keep more of their own money. No money exchanges hands with a tax cut. No one is paid. Money exchanges hands with a tax credit. The tax credit for buying a volt is $7500. It doesn’t have a thing in the world to do with your bracket. You can apply it to your liability but it is still $7500. You are not being honest because you undoubtedly understand the concept.

            There is a little minus sign top right that you claim to use. Try harder… and apologize to Ray immediately.

          • Ray in VT

            Thanks, Hennorama. I seem to recall someone also favoring breaks that allowed people to keep more of their money. Maybe it just depends upon the breaks.

          • HonestDebate1

            Is your question really serious? do you really mot understand the difference between a tax cut and a tax credit?

          • Ray in VT

            You can’t be serious. Why are you now critical of people keeping more of their money?

          • Red Sage

            The point is that you were wrong. The Volt was not created because of the Obama Administration or the current CEO of General Motors. The point is that President Obama is irrelevant to a discussion about the validity of the Volt in the marketplace. The point is that Bob Lutz has indeed changed his tune and that GM should have instead tried to move their best selling vehicles to higher mileage, better fuel economy, and electric drive rather than aiming at the least common denominator with an overpriced, gimped version of the Chevrolet Cruze. Mr. Lutz is attempting to use VIA Motors to show how that prior error in judgement can be resolved favorably by electrifying GM trucks. I wish him good luck. The point is that you asked a rhetorical question and assumed its rhetorical basis was correct when it had no actual basis in fact and was instead merely fueled by your own political myopia. The point is that you never thought anyone would actually have an answer for your leading, ill-informed, ridicuolous, rhetorical question. It takes more than a handful of months to build, design, and distribute a car. The Chevrolet Volt was being designed before President Obama became a Senator. That is the point.

          • HonestDebate1

            There isn’t an answer to my leading, ill-informed, ridicuolous, rhetorical question unless you have a time machine. IMO, Obama enabled GM to go forward at a time when they would not have. Then he installed his CEO to make it happen.

            That is the point.

        • The_Truth_Seeker

          You are SOooo stupid!! Bush was the one driving the economy into the ground and Obama is the one increasing the job count (and the stock market), every month! Besides Bush was all in favor of bailing out the auto companies – it was Romney that wanted to let them go out of business and cause up to 2 million people to lose their jobs.

          • Oh bummer

            Refer to my previous post where I advised you to: stop foaming at the mouth, take your meds, and then call your social worker.

            Got that Igor? Good.

    • hennorama

      Mon Bur, He — wow. Here I thought all of the “Obama did it” nonsense was already loose in the world.

      Thanks again for the comic relief.

      • Oh bummer

        Whatever you say bird-brain.

        • hennorama

          Mom Bur, He — oh, number! You’ve wounded me with your scintillating repartee!

          Seriously, do you have a standup routine, and if so, where can one get tickets?

          • Oh bummer

            Tickets to Obama’s impeachment?

            I’ve already got front row seats secured for that bird-brain.

          • hennorama

            Homer Bum — gotta say … for a jarhead, you are one laughably lame lampooner.

          • Oh bummer

            Some people do aspire to know the truth, unlike yourself who happily swallows and repeats every Obama lie like the trained parrot you are.

            Happy ‘swallowing’ bird-brain.

    • hennorama

      Bum Homer/Jay/(Un)Informed American — congratulations!

      You’ve won today’s BOFF (Blame Obama First, First) award!

    • The_Truth_Seeker

      I don’t think he was ever at any board meeting!!! Did he tell anyone at GM what kind of cars to make?? did he approve of car models? YOU ARE FULL OF YOU KNOW WHAT – AND IT REALLY SMELLS TO HIGH HEAVEN!!

      You are just a racist, disguised as a really ignorant person!

      • Oh bummer

        Dude, chill out. Take your meds, and then call your social worker.

        But before you call your social worker, make sure that you’re not still foaming at the mouth.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    What GM did in terms of failing to address a relatively simple and inexpensive design flaw in the ignition switch because of the economics of the business case was reprehensible. But members of Congress know that Mary Barra was not the executive in charge when these decisions were made and was not even aware of the problem/background until last week. She certainly took the right steps in terms of taking responsibility on behalf of the company, issuing apologies, and changing the business as usual approach.

    It always cracks me up how certain members of congress like to “pile on” at these types of hearings, while they can’t even pass a balanced budget (just a series of continuing spending resolutions), pass “farm” bills that have nothing to do with farming but everything to do with pork for rich farmers and welfare (food stamps), and never get around to making the hard decisions on entitlement reform that are required to address the real problem that will cause our economy to crash, namely the $17+ trillion and counting federal debt. It’s always easier to point out the other guy’s flaws so as to hide your own. I guess the “face time” that they get back home makes them look like a tough guy, supposedly watching out for the country’s interests.

    • nj_v2

      It would be amusing if it weren’t pathetic. These hearings always provide Congresscritters a photo-op to look and sound “tough” in defense of noble objectives like public safety and an opportunity to give the appearance of “standing up” to corporate malfeasance.

      The other 99% of the time, they’re coddling, excusing, and taking money from the very same people.

      And, of course, typical of “our conservative friends,” Financially_Responsible’s concept of financial responsibility begins and ends with “welfare,” “balanced budgets,” and “entitlement” reform” with no mention of corporate welfare, a nearly entirely corrupt and disfunctional finance and banking system, or the other systemic, institutional mechanisms which create and maintain historic levels of income inequality.

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        I oppose corporate welfare, believe that the crooked bankers/mortgage packagers should have gone to jail, etc. Just about everyone is simply out for themselves regardless of the harm that it does to the country and our society. Unlike liberals, I am willing to call a spade a spade, no matter what political stripe, rather than giving lower quantity cheaters such as those taking advantage of the welfare system or food stamps a “get out of jail free” card.

        • nj_v2

          That’s good to hear despite that it took prodding for you to mention it.

          As in your initial post, the default, first-case, showcase, automatic, poster-child for “conservative” concern over waste and abuse always seems to be “welfare,” even though the scale of that abuse pales compared to the other realms i mentioned.

          Why is that?

    • The_Truth_Seeker

      Does matter if she was in charge. Only matters what she knew and when she knew it. If you worked on the line and saw someone kill someone else – you have an obligation to tell someone about it, right? Doesn’t matter if you are CEO, or not!

  • Shag_Wevera

    I was going to make a sarcastic comment about the recall being “all Obama’s fault”. I figured it was a great way to make fun of the Obama obsessed. Unfortunately, I got here after 6-7 comments and somebummer has already SERIOUSLY made the point I was going to make jokingly. Oh well, maybe tomorrow.

    • Ray in VT

      You have to get up pretty early in the morning to be the first to make baseless attacks on the President these days.

      • jefe68

        I think it’s God’s fault. He’s been away on business…

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9mhsW5aWJM

        • jefe68

          It’s GM’s fault for not being prudent. But on government’s side Congress is really to blame here for not funding the auto regulator.

          What’s really interesting is how the right wing free marketeers on this forum all go on about government regulations and when it’s not working due to Republicans defunding regulators they blame government. Again, the clown show continues.

          http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-26/auto-regulator-has-51-people-tracking-250-million-cars.html

        • Ray in VT

          Gotta love Tom Waits. I have heard that he was the inspiration for Ralph the Dog, but I don’t know, and haven’t checked, to see if there is any truth to it.

    • nj_v2

      You’ve either got to get up earlier or stay up later (topics get posted ~ midnight). Some of our “conservative friends” are, if nothing else, very industrious.

      • jefe68

        It is amazing. As I have said before, it’s the right wing clown show in full swing on this forum.

        • Ray in VT

          Juggalos me thinks.

    • John Cedar

      If he had allowed GM to go bankrupt through a real bankruptcy instead of a kangaroo court bankruptcy, then pending litigation and culpability would have been publicly addressed. So yeah, it is all Obama’s fault.

      • hennorama

        John Cedar — pray tell where the financing for GM’s “real bankruptcy” would have come from, since no one was willing to lend to them?

        • John Cedar

          Bain Capital?

          • Ray in VT

            Why? So they could gut the company, lay everyone off and walk away with their pockets stuffed?

          • John Cedar

            And “not pay any taxes for ten years”.

          • Ray in VT

            If they can work the code. Is their “corporate headquarters” a mailbox in Bermuda by any chance?

          • hennorama

            John Cedar — thank you for adding to today’s comic relief.

            If GM could have gone through normal bankruptcy, it would have. Their management certainly didn’t want them to become “Government Motors,” but they didn’t have any real alternatives.

            In order to refresh your recollection, here’s a brief excerpt from an NYT article from Feb. 2009:

            G.M. said Thursday that it lost $9.6 billion in the fourth quarter, and reduced its cash reserves by $6.2 billion during the three-month period.

            The automaker revealed Thursday that it came perilously close to insolvency at the end of the year.

            The company said that it had $14 billion in cash at the end of the fourth quarter — confirming its statements in December that it was perilously close to insolvency — and stayed above the bare minimum levels of cash it needs only by virtue of receiving the first installment of its $13.4 billion in federal loans.G.M. said Thursday that it lost $9.6 billion in the fourth quarter, and reduced its cash reserves by $6.2 billion during the three-month period.

            They were losing over $3 billion/month, and It’s not like 2009 was going to magically get better for them, and no one was stepping up to finance further losses.

            See:
            http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/27/business/27auto.html?_r=0

          • hennorama

            An aside — if you change the offending word to “assesS,” your reply to me in the Week In The News forum (which I can see, but no one else can) will no longer be “awaiting moderation.”

    • HonestDebate1

      This is what you get with government installed CEOs.

      • jefe68

        The problem steams from before the restructuring. Nice try, and it’s getting to be a comedy of errors as you try to tie every thing to Obama.

        • hennorama

          jefe68 — my Kona-kaffeinated brain notes:

          CEO vs. COE (Comedy Of Errors).

          • jefe68

            I use a French press, less plastic…

        • HonestDebate1

          I don’t deny that at all but the Obama/Bush “fix” didn’t fix squat. All it did was prolong the misery and saddle us with debt.

          • Ray in VT

            Prolong what misery exactly? 16 straight profitable quarters, but wait, wasn’t GM headed back into bankruptcy according to a link that you kindly shared with us nearly 2 years ago? Saddled us with debt? According to one group Bush’s Iraq boondoggle cost us some $720 million/day. So GM cost us 15 days in Iraq? Sounds like a bargain.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes GM was head back to bankruptcy. Are you really going to deny that? Let’s call in their note and see how they do.

            Governments fight wars (see Obama) liberating gazillions (see Iraq/Afghanistan before we surrendered) to keep us safe (see Iraq’s support of terrorist, assassination attempt and the Taliban plotting 9/11 in Afghanistan). You don’t have to like it or respect the authority granted by the constitution. Government does not manufacture cars.

          • Ray in VT

            Oh really, it “was head back to bankruptcy”? According to Forbes’ “free markets” guy. That right there should tell one how little the column was worth.

            Yup, governments fight wars, especially when they can deceive the public into supporting it with lies (Bush). Why don’t you sign up to fight for more of Bush’s mistakes in Iraq? Why should others keep dying for his mistakes. Please provide some evidence for Iraq supporting al-Qaeda. You didn’t say it specifically, but that claim was made in the wake of 9/11, despite the fact that the CIA said that it wasn’t the case. Of course the Bush administration said it anyways.

            Correct. The government does not manufacture cars. We no longer have a stake in GM.

          • jefe68

            He wants GM to fail. It’s obvious.
            Then it plays right into his ant-Obama narrative.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s crazy.

          • jefe68

            So are most of your screeds.

          • HonestDebate1

            Alrighty then.

          • jefe68

            Except GM payed back the bailout or more precise, the US government recouped the money through the sales of stock.

            Again, nice try but no cigar. You should change your name to obtuse debate.

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/joannmuller/2013/12/09/taxpayers-dont-have-government-motors-to-kick-around-any-more/

          • Ray in VT

            A lot of it, but not all.

          • keltcrusader

            love it – can we all vote on that?

          • HonestDebate1

            According to your link the taxpayers are on the hook for only $11.1 billion. That’s not peanuts Jeffe. Nice try but no cigar.

            And think about it their stock would be worthless if they had to repay the debt. It was a giant scam.

          • Ray in VT

            Two weeks in Iraq, dude. There was plenty of money for nation-building over there.

            That is some interesting speculation about the stock. Given their recent profits, it would not break them to pay some more back, and I think that it would be a good PR, and just in general, move on their part, even if the Street didn’t like it.

          • HonestDebate1

            Iraq was not an option.

          • Ray in VT

            Correct. It was a choice. A poor, misguided, mismanaged and deceptively sold choice.

          • Ray in VT

            Also, from what I read it was 10.5.

          • HonestDebate1

            I went by the link Jeffe provided to prove they paid it all back.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that Jefe is incorrect. Overall, the bailouts turned a profit, although a loss was taken on the auto ones. However, many argue that the cost of action was far less than the cost of inaction.

  • James

    I’ll let Milton Friedman speak for me on this one

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdyKAIhLdNs

    • jimino

      Aggressive trial attorneys helping injured parties to secure fair compensation for injuries due to the wrongs done by business are essential to enforcing the principles backed by Friedman. So why are they so hated by self-identified conservatives and libertarians?

      You can’t have a functioning market-based, hands-off government system without those damn “ambulance chasers.” Isn’t that what Friedman says?

      • James

        I can’t speak for other people, but I think a lot of Republicans are so consumed by the “Social Darwinist” view of the world, where success is so tied to virtue, that they ignore other principals of their ideology. From a politics pov it had long makes sense, Associate yourself with successful people and they can help fund your campaign, associate yourself with people who revere successful people, they’ll vote for you.

        The downside is that if you don’t have a society where EVERYONE can rise or fall, you become the party of the plutocrats.

        There is lots of room for a radical free market populism in the party (of which the tea party has just scratched the surface), but all the oxygen has been sucked out of the by Fox and right wing radio.

        • HonestDebate1

          I can’t speak for Republicans (I’m not one) but I don’t think they tie success to virtue. They tie it to independence and avoiding bad decisions. Many scumbags are successful.

          I would use the word anyone instead of everyone regarding your second paragraph. That kind of society is all we can hope to legislate. The downside is it ripe for demonization through envy; for punishing achievement. Anything beyond that is social Justice which is a hideous concept IMO.

          • jimino

            So a society that equates “scumbag” with “achievement”, or perhaps even requires the former attribute as a pre-requisite for the latter, is your ideal?

          • HonestDebate1

            Where do you get this stuff?

          • jimino

            Your words. You wrote that scumbags who succeed, that is, reach achievement, an admittedly common occurrence, should not face any societal sanctions as that would simply be being “demonized by envy.” And your detest the concept of societal justice. That is what you believe so why are you so concerned with me pointing it out?

          • HonestDebate1

            Read it again more slowly.

        • HonestDebate1

          BTW, that’s one of my favorite Friedman videos. thanks for posting.

    • hennorama

      Dr. Friedman’s rather unsubtle unspoken feeling about the questioner is made clear by which finger he uses each time he points at the young man.

  • MrNutso

    So in spite of the fact that the problem was first detected 10 years ago, this is all Obama’s fault. Guess we don’t need to air the show and we can move on to something that includes the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Probably an infinitely more interesting topic.

    • Ray in VT

      Obama plays the long game.

      • MrNutso

        I know. He knew 4-years before there would even be a GM bankruptcy that in his second term as President he would get blamed for ignition switch troubles that only a few in GM knew about.

        • Ray in VT

          It leads one to wonder how this fits into his grand scheme to destroy ‘Merica.

  • Jeff

    The whole recall process is a fishy topic. I owned a GM car and I ran into an issue with my vehicle that could have caused major safety problems…GM used a piece of aluminum instead of steel in the windshield wiper mechanism. The problem would arise if you use your wipers with a bit of heavy snow on your windshield, the aluminum bends and your wipers end up strait up and if you activate them they fly off the side of your car not clearing the windshield. They stay like that until you get it fixed and are virtually unusable until fixed.

    The worst part is that GM KNEW about this issue and even sent out a Technical Service Bulletin; they went as far as to create a new part that didn’t use aluminum in the critical section where the part would bend. Yet, they didn’t bother to order a recall…yeah maybe I’m crazy but I would think that unusable windshield wipers would be a major safety hazard but nope, no recall. I wonder how GM gets away with that problem every time I see the early 2000 model GM cars with their windshield wipers stuck strait up!

  • hennorama

    Regarding the upcoming segment on Tesla Motors:

    The Union of Concerned Scientists has an interesting timeline on its website, showing various electric, hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles, with images and descriptions of each. They also have a link to the Global Warming Emissions and Fuel Cost Savings across the United States, so you can see what the impact might be in your area (as well as other interesting links).

    See:
    http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/smart-transportation-solutions/advanced-vehicle-technologies/electric-cars/electric-vehicle-timeline.html

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    I will go to Korea.
    –Eisenhower

    LBJ has arrived in Vietnam.
    –The news media

    I will go to the compensation committee luncheon in the executive dining room.
    –Mary Barra

  • MarkVII88

    It’s certainly telling that GM didn’t think those cars, or their owners, were worth spending the 90 cents on over a decade ago. Actually, it would have probably cost less than 90 cents a decade ago and it would not have been so costly to the GM image then either because everyone knew then and knows now that Chevy Cobalts and Saturn Ions are utter crap anyway.

  • Kyle

    Can’t help but think of fight club

    • MarkVII88

      I am on that same page Kyle.

  • nj_v2

    Totally off topic, but today, for anyone in the Boston area, it’s hard to avoid (and it shouldn’t be avoided or ignored); the first memorial/funeral service is being held for one of the two firefighters who died last week fighting a fire and saving people in a nine-alarm, apartment blaze that blew up in unusually high winds and trapped them inside.

    Firefighters everywhere risk their lives in public service. Don’t miss an opportunity to let any of them know their work is appreciated.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Veni, vidi, vici.
    –Julius Caesar

    I came. I saw. I chose the fresh woodcock in gooseberry, pimento and shaved walnut sauce.
    –Mary Barra

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Note to Staff: Replace the GM limousines with safer models. Check all the switches, too.
    –Mary Barra

  • Oh bummer

    Barack Obama doesn’t have enough business experience to run a taco truck, let alone GM or the US economy.

    Unfortunately Obama knows just enough to drive both GM and the US economy off the fiscal cliff into the abyss of bankruptcy.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      I used to say of BO: pet shop. Taco truck might be a better description.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    We cheat the customer and pass the savings on to the executive compensation committee.
    –The NEW General Motors

  • Human2013

    Can someone please find a really hot place on earth with no internet access to banish the Conservative trolls that are trying to hijack serious, thougtful discussion.

    • Jeff

      But who would you tax to support your lifestyle?

      • Ray in VT

        The blue states that already foot the bill. They might even be better off without having to fund the red states.

        • WorriedfortheCountry
          • Ray in VT

            Yup, and that is a situation that I do not like. It’s not a good long term strategy.

            However, let us look at the supposed great economic engine that is Texas. #32. That is not exactly top notch. The fact remains that there is an awful lot of blue at the top and red at the bottom. One other recent piece that I saw said that South Carolina gets back over $7 for every one that it pays in:

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/26/republican-states-most-dependent-government_n_5035877.html

          • Jeff

            Aw hell, here I am in Minnesota paying for everyone else…just like I suspected. I am pro-global warming due to the fact that Florida would be underwater and no longer taking my tax dollars. Get with the times liberals, be pro-global arming to sink some of those red states, right?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I feel for you, man. Has Al Franken weighed in on his job performance lately?

          • Jeff

            It’s an election year…the problem is that there are no big name candidates running against him yet. We have so many crazy far left liberals, they just see a D next to a name and vote for it…luckily it’s not a presidential election year so the Republicans have a chance.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            You could use that wiki- chart as a ranking of Franken’s job performance — dead last.

        • Oh bummer

          Are you talking about the Red States of California, NY, NJ, and Illinois that are up to their eyeballs in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy?

          • Ray in VT

            On the verge of bankruptcy? It seems like California, for instance, has made some very positive strides with its finances, and they have done so without screwing the public by cutting education spending and the like, as Kansas has done. Also, if those blue states weren’t sending out so much money to support other states, and the worst offenders in that sense are mostly red, then they might have more money with which to do at home.

          • jefe68

            I wont feed the troll, but he’s wrong about California.

            http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21569723-laughing-stock-america-gets-serious-about-its-budget-back-black

            NY state is also looking at turning around it’s deficit this year. I’m not sure about NJ.

            Ignore the troll, he’s only looking for attention.

          • Jeff

            Detroit?

          • jefe68

            Detroit what? You are aware that what happened in Detroit is more complex than you seem to be alluding too.

          • northeaster17

            so not true

          • Oh bummer

            According to usdebtclock.org, the blue states, CA, NY, NJ, and Illinois, are in the ‘red’.

        • Jeff

          Keep the extra tax breaks that blue states get in that equation…higher income, higher tax deductions for the mortgage interest deduction. Oh, and the tax write offs for state income taxes…if you add that up the blue states are getting many more tax breaks than red states get in funding from the federal government.

          • Ray in VT

            That doesn’t really change how the blue states tend to give more than they get back while the red states tend to be the bigger takers.

    • J__o__h__n

      Benghazi?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        The Benghazi blow up is on CSPAN right now. CNN — not so much.

      • MrNutso

        After being audited by the IRS.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          You too? Say it ain’t so.

          • Ray in VT

            I submitted my pro-Obama comments with my return in order to get a free pass on the audit. Shhh, though. It’s a secret that only those of us who are in on the conspiracy know about.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — First Rule of Audit Avoidance Club …

          • Ray in VT

            Don’t talk about the Audit Avoidance Club.

        • hennorama

          … and being observed wearing “mom jeans” while under NSA surveillance.

        • Oh bummer

          The very same IRS that has been charged with enforcing Obamacare, as well as requesting and been granted a waiver freeing the IRS from having to comply with Obamacare. How convenient.

      • Oh bummer

        Then a thorough investigation of the death of Ambassador Stevens would actually occur, instead of having to rely on Hillary Clinton’s refusal to answer questions under oath.

        • Ray in VT

          It seems as though there are a number of investigations current and concluded. Have they not discovered the real truth that you seek?

    • Oh bummer

      I’ve always wanted to take a Kenyan vacation. I could visit Obama’s half-brother who lives in a mud hut there.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    I was on my way to a celebrity Christmas do when some underling person said something about something. Can’t recall what. I was in a rush to get to the soiree.
    –Mary Barra

  • Scott B

    Car companies have always done this: Weighed the cost of a recall against what it would cost them in settlements when they know things go wrong. History is littered with families of the dead and wounded with non-disclosure agreements in the settlements.

    This is magnified when you have an industry that, like so many, lags behind what the public wants and expects. The rear camera requirement, for example. The American car makers, in particular, balked at the prospect of having to require them, even though the cost of them (under $200) is small blip on the cost of a cars that start in the low five-figures. Now, the NTSB is finally getting it’s way in requiring the rear cams, which will further bring down the price of the camera, as the requirement for more mass production always does.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Good thing General Motors didn’t waste any bucks sending Barra to Harvard Business School for training. That would have been money down the factory drain.

    “I had the privilege of getting to know her last summer when she attended my Harvard Business School course, “Leading Global Businesses,” while she was GM’s chief of worldwide product development.”
    –Bill George, Professor Management Practice {yesterday in the Huffington Post}

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Maybe Barra should attend the CIA-FBI How to Share Information School” for executives in private industries.

  • Scott B

    This is also what happens when you have a corporate culture that sees making money for stockholders and execs as the priority. As one GM exec put it, “GM used to be a car company that occasionally lent money. Now we’re a bank that makes cars.”

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    The US taxpayer bailed out General Motors. It made no difference.
    The GM board hired an engineer for CEO. It made no difference.
    The GM board hired a woman for CEO. It made no difference.
    The GM CEO testified before Congress. It made no difference.

    The NEW American Capitalism: because it really makes no difference.

  • Oh bummer

    Exporting Chaos: ‘West spent $5 billion destabilizing Ukraine’

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2xBhpFi9JU

    Instead of sending $5 billion to help neo-fascist thugs overthrow the democratically elected govt. in Ukraine, Obama should have given that $5 billion to GM’s R&D to design cars that are capable of going from point a to point b, without breaking down.

    • hennorama

      Oh, dumber and dumber.

      You are seriously misinformed, even in the face of direct evidence.

      • Oh bummer

        The truth is getting out, your President supports neo-fascists. But you’ll still support Obama unabated, right bird-brain?

        • hennorama

          Hum ‘Em Bro — ouch, I’m again wounded by your scintillating repartee.

          Please allow me to coin a new term for you:

          DIRT (Determinedly Ignorant “Real Truther”)

          Thanks again for the entertainment.

          • Oh bummer

            I actually agree with you for once bird-brain,

            there’s a lot of dirt out there in regards to Obama’s neo-fascist connections.

      • jefe68

        You know, maybe it’s time to stop responding to this troll.

        • hennorama

          jefe68 — TYFYR. You make a good point, which I will take under advisement.

          • jefe68

            Yeah, but you’re just feeding his reptilian brain needs.

          • Oh bummer

            You should volunteer to become the poster-child abortions for keeping abortions legal. The world has more than enough worthless bottom-feeders like you. Do society a favor and crawl back in your worm-hole.

          • jefe68

            You do realize that we all have a part of our brain that is like a reptile, right?
            You seem to be on this forum to stimulate that part of your brain. At least all the evidence is pointing to that conclusion.

            You crave instant gratification based on child like tendencies. You’re comments and diatribes read like the meanderings of dysfunctional adolescent who may be suffering from a form of ADD. Who knows, but I’ve already wasted to many minutes of my time responding to such small insignificant troll such as yourself.

            Someone agrees with your inanity. Funny how some of the trolls seem to have a mutual appreciation club on this forum. What, do you guys share a brain?

          • Oh bummer

            Whatever, your President is a hopeless failure and a war criminal, and he will face justice in court of law for his war crimes.

          • jefe68

            I’m not a Obama fan. Such a small mind at work here.

          • keltcrusader

            Please do not lump people with ADD/ADHD in with this creten!

          • jefe68

            Sorry, but I was only conjecturing as to why he is so manic in his posts.

          • Oh bummer

            Back in your troll cage you.

  • Charles

    I heard Ms. Barra’s testimony when I woke up this morning and it made me think of Mitt Romney’s claim that “corporations are people”.
    It seems to me that if corporations are people, then GM should be liable for manslaughter, and we ought to lock it up for 8-10 years.
    You mean to tell me that you can’t put a corporation in jail?
    Seems like something doesn’t add up here.

  • MrNutso

    Why wasn’t it fixed. Until executives and boards of directors are held personally liable for damage resulting from anyone not immediately and publicly identifying defects with their products these types of shenanigans will continue. These people and share holders should be responsible for monetary damages.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Congress: Does GM acknowledge any wrong doing?
    Barra: Nope.
    Congress: You’re an inspiration to all Americans. Thanks for coming.
    Barra: My pleasure. It was fun.

    Oh, happy days. Congress and international corporations march together into a bright and glorious future. Everybody wins!

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Humans make mistakes. Yes, there’s that excuse one always hears from the media. The teenager explanation to why the bedroom is a shambles.

  • D.l. Millington

    My father( a mechanic) told me 35 YEARS ago that ignition switches were notoriously weak and to never have more than one keys weight hanging from the ignition.

    • hennorama

      D.l. Millington — I’ve had personal experience with difficult-to-start vehicles due to that very issue. It amazes me what people attach to their keychains these days, and it can definitely have an impact on the switch.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Wireless ‘keys’ are a great innovation.

        • Ray in VT

          It’s still a bit weird to me.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I love it. The interior light comes on as I near the car — maybe ‘weird’ but also cool. No more fumbling with keys. No more frozen key holes (great for that VT winter?).

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, ice on the locks is no fun. I’m solving part of that problem by moving into a house with a garage. For whatever reason I seem to always drop the keys to my new car. I almost never did it with my old keys.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — c’mon. Real men use block heaters.

            Again, best wishes with the new place.

          • Ray in VT

            Thanks. It will be much more convenient and a better long term fit for the family. There are some down sides, but the upsides, we think, outweigh them. My wife and I actually sat down and wrote out a pro and con list when we were first approached about purchasing the house.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — sounds wonderfully workable.

          • Ray in VT

            We try to make things work as best we can.

    • OnPointComments

      As I watched the hearing on C-Span yesterday, I thought of the Seinfeld episode where his girlfriend hands Seinfeld her huge keychain and asks him to carry it for her. Seinfeld asks her “What are you? A medieval dungeon master?”

      Every woman I know has a keychain with keys from everywhere she’s lived and worked for past 10 years, her past 3 vehicles, member rewards cards, trinkets, and some huge attachment to make it easier to find in her purse, and it weighs at least 5 pounds.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_u5vaVxHfUU

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Barra isn’t going to be allowed to do a great job.* She’ll be out once the dust settles. It’s how corporations get out of paying big bucks for mismanagement and criminal activities.

    * assuming those tools are in her truck box.

  • JGC

    How does the Reagan Administration’s Executive Order on Cost/Benefit Analysis creep into the way corporations view the cost discussion on product recalls such as this? For example, the wording of the executive order restricted costs on regulations that would impact “the economy” “increases in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, government agencies or geographic regions” and “adverse effects on competition, employment productivity”, etc. In all the wording of the Reagan Cost/Benefit order, there is no mention of the word “safety” or any weight given in favor of safety.

    • TheDailyBuzzherd

      Ketchup is good for you.

      • JGC

        True, that. One of my senators, the Honorable Sen. Toomey (R-PA), recommends that his constituents enjoy a balanced diet based on the Four Major Food Groups: ketchup, PopTarts, “chocolatey” milk and Slim Jims.

        • TheDailyBuzzherd

          You must have found a 40 year old copy of my Scout Patrol’s camping menu! One time for a winter campout breakfast we got ( drum roll, please ) … Swiss Miss! The eggs got dumped in the fire, apparently by accident.

    • hennorama

      JGC — long time no read. WB.

      • JGC

        Yes, life is busy at the moment. Did some Coursera classes- lots of fun- and politically, we currently are in the middle of a Quebec election campaign with the controlling Parti Quebecois government trying to railroad us into another referendum on separation from Canada. And perhaps most importantly, the winter Curling members of my community club are trying to engineer a takeover of the facilities away from the summer Swimming membership: Never- NEVER!!!- trust a Curler…

        • hennorama

          JGC — beware Canadians bearing brooms?

          Busy is much better than the alternative of course. Good on ya.

          • brettearle

            @juno.com

          • hennorama

            Wow. Talk about bread crumbs …

            your moniker + the other component previously described?

          • brettearle

            Yes…

            `brettearle’ with the rest of the information:

            @[Jason Reitman].com

            Make a test run, bitte

          • hennorama

            Testing …

          • brettearle

            Is your PC in outer space?

            Nothing,so far

          • hennorama

            BTW — I’m covering my tracks, as you have done to an extent.

          • brettearle

            What’s going on?

            Are you making any progress?

            You don’t strike me as someone who would pull someone’s leg.

            Is it your PC, by chance?

          • hennorama

            I dunno. Tried twice, no feedback.

            A suggestion — let’s revert to the Koprowski forum, and use this:

            http://www.csgnetwork.com/morsecodedeconv.html

          • brettearle

            Let me know HERE that you’ve got it.

            And then I’ll immediately erase it.

          • hennorama

            gotcha but it’s what I’ve used twice already. maybe the 3rd time …?

          • brettearle

            Then give me yours now.

            And then you can immediately erase it

          • hennorama

            …—…

          • brettearle

            Ok, you can erase it.

            I have to go off line. I will try it AM now, PM, or tonight.

            But soon.

            I will be back on the thread, off and on.

          • hennorama

            K later.

          • brettearle

            Got it. Great….

          • brettearle

            Let me know that you received my response below.

          • brettearle

            Presumably, you’d be receiving, `returned to sender’ messages, by now–if something was remiss.

          • hennorama

            right. nothing thus far.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    GM accidentally sent the new switches to Switzerland along with Caterpillar’s profits. It was a common, explainable mix up.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    That’s why I wish again
    That I was in Michigan
    Taking.. the train.

  • Human2013

    Seriously, while it’s fun and oh so easy to mock the Conservatives, we really have to stop letting them serve as a distraction. I have sadly witnessed people consumed by conservative talking points. Lets never forget the women with the sign, “Keep Government out of my Medicare”. This is no laughing matter, but a serious problem for our country. We have individuals making min wage receiving food stamps while bashing obamacare and government spending. As we have so sadly witnessed (Jonestown), it doesn’t take much for humans to be swayed in a direction that is contrary to their best intersest. We have to listen to them and then try to explain the fallacies of Conservative Ideaology. When we can get them on board, we will see change that will benefit everyone.

    • brettearle

      I think that you are underestimating how bad of a shape our country is in–economically and in general attitude among the populace. And I think Media exaggerates it–simply by being 24/7 Media.

      I think that the quiet panic and the loud panic are creating an atmosphere of salacious dysfunction–where ideology is so entrenched that it would almost take an apocalyptic event to change thinking–and even then, such an event might make things even worse.

      • Human2013

        I have a 10 year old son, so that’s very disheartening

        • brettearle

          I can understand why you would feel that way. Anyone with children would want to feel optimistic about the Future.

          The great part about my point is that I could be wrong.

          But I am more troubled by the fact that more and more people are agreeing with me and more people don’t seem to want to have children–because of the potential bleakness of the Future.

          Maybe, indeed, the answer is to have children–if only to increase general morale….

    • Sy2502

      Just so I understand you correctly, you are saying Republicans are like the people of Jonestown, who have all been convinced to believe something contrary to their best interests? Because you know, my guess is that conservatives think the exact same thing about liberals.

      • jimino

        An example I see are self-proclaimed conservatives overwhelmingly hating Obamacare, but overwhelmingly supporting its guarantee of insurance regardless of a pre-exisiting health condition, their ability to keep their children on their policy until age 26 mandated by the act, the creation of health care exchanges, etc. I don’t think its intentionally acting against their own interest, but ignorance of the facts.

        • Sy2502

          I have never met a conservative that hated Obamacare but liked coverage of 20+ year old children.
          Many conservatives, and most libertarians like me, think there’s much to be desired with the health system but don’t think Obamacare is a good solution to it, and it may even make some things worse. Others believe it will bankrupt the country and are patriotic enough to not let their short term supposed personal interest get in the way of the long term good of the country. Obviously opposers of Obamacare don’t feel they are acting against their own interests, but feel Obamacare is against the interests of the country as a whole.
          What bothers me are people so short sighted, so parochial, so wrapped up in their own political bias that they can’t even make the mental effort of putting themselves in the shoes of those who think different than them, and simplistically brush them off as “loonies”, Jonestown, etc. Sad state of affairs.

          • Human2013

            Let me tell you what is short sighted. It’s short sighted to
            believe that corporations will continue to cover their employees over the next
            several decades without a mechanism to reduce inflation like the ACA. It’s short
            sighted to deny women birth control (hobby lobby) and then bash her for requiring
            a government subsidy to cover the exploding cost of child care, food and
            housing. It’s short sighted to believe there is no correlation between
            government spending and social mobility. It’s short sighted to believe that
            young black men in urban areas are lazy. It’s short sighted not to want to explain to
            the woman holding the Medicare sign that Medicare is the epitome of “big
            Government.” So yes, your party is bordering the Jonestown insanity.

          • Sy2502

            My party?
            Given I have just said I am a Libertarian, all you have shown is your ignorance of the difference between Libertarians and Republicans. So we’ll add ignorance to your shallowness and short sightedness of the earlier post.

          • Human2013

            Take out the impetus to go to war and it all seems the same to me. If government doesn’t care for it citizens, than who will. Walmart employees don’t make enough to feed themselves.

          • Sy2502

            The government doesn’t care for its citizens. You can take the best care of yourself.
            As for the differences between Libertarians and Republicans, do your own homework.

          • Human2013

            Please point out the inaccurate part of my post?

          • jimino

            I agree that almost nobody who considers themselves a “conservative” actually is. But if you have never encountered someone who fits my description you live in a very tiny bubble.

            Paying almost three times what every other develop country pays for heath care, which is a feature of our current system, is almost certain to lead to bankruptcy. And we get worse outcomes to boot. What say you libertarians about solving that?

          • Sy2502

            Maybe I do live in a tiny bubble. And maybe you surround yourself with so many people who think like you do that your supposed knowledge of the other side is based more on stereotypes than anything else.
            I have lived many years in a country with socialized healthcare, which was so bad that everybody, including very poor people would go to private practice doctors and hospitals to get adequate care. Because there were no giant health insurance companies, private health care was on a pay-as-you-go system. And since they wanted to attract as many clients as possible, they didn’t jack up the prices, so even the little old lady on social security could afford to see a private doctor. And doctors could compete with each other. No referral was required, you just called and made an appointment. Blood tests were maybe $50, MRIs and CT scans were maybe a couple of hundred. Hospital stay was entirely affordable. So from my personal experience, that is the best kind of health care system. You only pay for what you need, you don’t feed bureaucracies and middlemen, and the free market actually works. My sister still lives there, she has been unemployed for 2 years, technically she’s below poverty level, and she had an ACL replacement entirely private practice, paid out of her pocket. Yes it’s possible.

          • jimino

            So your plan is that everyone delivering health care, hospitals, doctors, medical device manufacturers, etc. would all get paid far, far less than they now do to provide their services.

            That plan should be a piece of cake to implement. Who could possibly object to that (other than EVERY entity now in the health care field)?

          • Sy2502

            You asked me what I would do, I answered you. Unlike you, I have actually experienced such a system. You are free to not like it, of course, but maybe you shouldn’t ask questions if you aren’t going to like the answer…

          • jimino

            What country at what time are you referring to in your earlier comment?

          • Sy2502

            Does it matter?

          • jimino

            Only if one is interested in knowing if you are telling the truth and dealing with the real world, something I don’t see much of when interacting with “libertarians.”.

          • Sy2502

            Since your only intent is to insult, I will tell you I don’t give a flying fig if a nobody on an Internet forum believes me or not. You have a far overinflated opinion of your own importance.

          • jimino

            My intent is to tell you that your self-proclaimed libertarian solutions, most especially to the health care system, are childishly unrealistic.

          • Sy2502

            My intent is to tell you that you haven’t given me any reason to respect or give any validity to your opinion.

  • TheDailyBuzzherd

    Lotsa buzz on owner responsibility. Well, if GM thinks it F’d up, then owner responsibility is moot.

    “The Cost Culture”. That explains every poor business decision over the past 40 years. From that point on down everything from short-term stock gains to “pension reform” is exposed.

    Some day someone will make a mint explaining the true social cost of “efficiency” and “productivity” by “The High Cost of High-Heeled Boys”.

  • brettearle

    Why don’t you go to the Federal Authorities with pertinent information?

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    I must have blinked and missed the Tesla segment.

    While I’m hopeful and bullish on the future of electric vehicles (battery and fuel cell) there are a few interesting observations that highlight the challenges.

    The DOE has an mileage calculator that compares the cost per eGallon vs. gas costs for each state. According to the DOE, the cost is 3x cheaper for the electric power. Great, right? Well, it turns out it depends on both the cost of both electricity and gasoline. Here are some examples:

    -national average: egal: $1.16 vs. gas: $3.51
    -MA: egal: $1.99 vs. gas: $3.51
    -HI: egal: $3.61 vs. gas: $3.51

    So obviously the egallon costs are highly dependent on local electric costs. Another factor is gasoline taxes. Gas taxes ($.35-.$70/gallon) are embedded in the gas costs but not included in the egallon cost. Once electric cars are a significant part of the market share the road maintenance costs MUST be included for a ‘fair’ comparison.

    Therefore, if you are rooting for successful expansion of electric vehicles you MUST also root for cheaper electric power generation.

    Also, the amortization of the expensive battery pack must be considered. The Tesla pack goes for $12K for a 200 mile range. Future improvements in battery technology and future gas prices must also be considered.

    Ford has an electric and gas Focus. Costs are easily compared:
    Using the bullish DOE figures (and ignoring the gas tax) the gas Focus has the advantage ($58.562 vs. $48,616). Clearly you wouldn’t get these results in MA or HI.
    http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/06/24/gas-vs-electric-cars-cost-comparison/

    Note: it looks like the DOE website doesn’t track local gasoline costs- bummer.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_taxation_and_spending_by_state

  • Alchemical Reaction

    Does the entire country have its head in the sand? It’s not a secret corporations law states, “Corporations MUST act ONLY in the interest of shareholders.” Not the public good. Not the commonwealth. Not safety. Not sustainability. Not peace. SHAREHOLDERS.

    The only reason they would do something for the families of those killed as a result of the defect would be to whitewash GMs reputation so the company can attract new customers, thereby increasing revenue and improving the stock price for SHAREHOLDERS.

    • William

      GM has not acted in the best interest of the shareholders in decades. If they had, they would be a much better company.

      • Alchemical Reaction

        I think you mean, the unions have not acted in the best interest of shareholders.

    • nj_v2

      Astute and knowledgable observers will note that this is a 180º/completely different environment than when the first chartering legislation was passed at the founding.

      Public officials were hesitant to grant any corporate licenses, so wary was the public given their experience with the British corporations of the era.

      If any corporation did anything that was deemed to be counter to the public good, if they broke any laws, if they acted in any way to influence elections or public policy, they could be penalized, fined, or have their charters revoked.

      The first step toward reversing the current corporatocracy we live under would be to pass a law reversing one of the worst Supreme Court decisions while established corporate personhood.

      • Alchemical Reaction

        YES.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    There appears to be a lot of griping here about corporate irresponsibility and liability. What if the government conducts tests on the folks — vulnerably sick folks? Is anyone bothered?

    “Report: EPA tested deadly pollutants on humans to push Obama admin’s agenda”

    “These experiments exposed people, including those with asthma and heart problems, to dangerously high levels of toxic pollutants, including diesel fumes, reads a EPA inspector general report”

    http://dailycaller.com/2014/04/02/report-epa-tested-deadly-pollutants-on-humans-to-push-obama-admins-agenda/

    • Ray in VT

      From the actual report:

      “The EPA followed applicable regulations when it exposed 81 human study subjects to concentrated airborne particles or diesel exhaust emissions in five EPA studies conducted during 2010 and 2011″

      • brettearle

        I think also Worried may be trying to imply that this research is involuntary.

        If there were no willing participants, there’d be no study.

        • Ray in VT

          I think that the headline is inflammatory at the very least, and it does seem that it is misrepresenting the situation, at least with the quotes provided.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Hmmm. Coal mining is voluntary too.

          Did the government deceive the participants?

          “According to the IG’s report, “only one of five studies’ consent forms
          provided the subject with information on the upper range of the
          pollutant” they would be exposed to, but even more alarming is that only
          “two of five alerted study subjects to the risk of death for older
          individuals with cardiovascular disease.”

          • brettearle

            I did look at your reference and the report
            –after you posted the link.

            I figured that you might provide this argument.

            Could you tell me the pages, in the report, that reflect your quotes?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            No I didn’t look at the report. Are these quotes in accurate?

          • brettearle

            I did not see the quotes in the report.

            I do not yet regard what you have posted to be exemplary of mistreatment.

            However, if EPA is aware of subjects’ health risks–and do not subsequently warn each and every subject, based on individual malady and a general warning of risks, this would, almost certainly, be a glaring legal breach and an outrageous oversight.

            All major newspapers in the country would be all over this–as they are about any public or private sector endeavor that would endanger the public.

            For you to believe that no newspaper in the country would carry this–so as to protect the President–would be utterly foolish and biased.

            A day doesn’t go by when a major city newspaper doesn’t criticize the Obama administration.

            Unless you can prove otherwise–and I am open to listening–this could be another example of posting information from an Extreme Right Wing Web Site of Propaganda.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I don’t see how this is ‘right wing’ propaganda — the article simply quotes the IG report.

            We’ll see if there is any coverage in the NYTimes. I truly believe there would be breathless coverage if this happened under Bush.

            Are you saying there is no media bias? There were only 81 guinea pigs in this case so it probably doesn’t warrant the same level of coverage as say a Christie bridge-scandal. Or a Deval Patrick oversight scandal where 160 people DIE.

            From yesterdays USA today:

            “Why do organizations like CNN let Democrats’ arrested for felonies slip through the cracks?”

            http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/04/01/fbi-guns-leland-lee-column/7081115/

          • notafeminista

            So, if one major city newspaper criticizes President Obama’s administration every day, it’s inconceivable that another might protect the same administration? Do you honestly believe there are not people out there who would say and do whatever they needed to to protect a given administration – regardless of who is in office?

          • brettearle

            i don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • Ray in VT

            You didn’t look at the report? May I ask why? Is it your expectation that the Daily Caller would accurately present the content of the report?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Yes. Especially when they use quotation marks.

          • Ray in VT

            Yet they omitted the first paragraph, which stated that all appropriate regulations were followed. One can easily selectively quote something in order to cause it to appear to say something else entirely.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            OK, I just looked myself and here we go. From the ‘at a glance’:

            “The EPA obtained informed consent from the 81 human study subjects before exposing them to pollutants. While the consent forms met the requirements of 40 CFR Part 26, we found that exposure risks were not always consistently represented. Further, the EPA did not include information on long-term cancer risks in its diesel exhaust studies’ consent forms. An EPA manager considered these long-term risks minimal for short-term study exposures. We believe presenting consistent information about risks further ensures that study subjects can make the most informed choice about participating in a study.”

          • brettearle

            While there could be a recommendation to be more thorough, I think that you are somewhat close to splitting hairs–not to mention attempting to exploit “Daily Callers” inflammatory headlines:

            “Report: EPA tested deadly pollutants on humans to push Obama admin’s agenda”

            “These experiments exposed people, including those with asthma and heart problems, to dangerously high levels of toxic pollutants, including diesel fumes, reads a EPA inspector general report”

            Your own quote above–that supposedly substantiated “Daily Callers” points– does NOT come close to explaining the highly propagandistic and sensationalized claims by “Daily Caller”, that I have reprinted in my comment here….

            I am thinking of the parallel where FDA does not always require certain warnings on drug labels; while at the same time, printing risks which frequency are VERY infrequent, if not rare.

            If this EPA research standard were a serious problem, major media outlets would be ALL OVER this.

            As I mentioned in an earlier comment, journalists are desperate to pick up on this sort of Negligence.

            And no one has.

            For you to believe that this is yet `Another Cover Up’ to protect Obama is hopelessly biased and distorted.

            I could report, to you, ANY NUMBER of investigative reports, in large city newspapers, that go after, generally, the Obama Administration–just as they did with the Gulf Oil Spill crisis.

    • nj_v2

      Well, there ya go…

      Someone mentioned earlier the right-wing diversion/deflection strategy, and here it is.

      Take the whole raft of corporate malfeasance—manipulating political process, pollution, worker abuse, union busting, tax avoidance, etc, etc., etc., and just one mention of one aspect of one possibly dubious EPA study (thus implying that corporate abuse is insignificant)government” and… *Poof!* al that disappears. Neat!

      The ol’ bbbbbut… tactic.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        So you endorse the EPA’s actions as outlined by the IG report?

        Poof!!

        • nj_v2

          ^ Just when you thought the limits of intellectual dishonesty from this handle had already been reached.

    • hennorama

      WftC — so the consent forms met the requirements, but the presentation of some of the risks was inconsistent, according to the IG report.

      Sounds like some minor fix is in order.

      Concern over the issue of informed consent in human trials and medical studies is widespread, which is why their are regulations such as Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 26 – Protection of Human Subjects (40 CFR Part 26).

      I’m all for improvement of the disclosures in the informed consent process, but this article, especially its headline, seems more alarmist than the facts warrant.

      There is legitimate concern about fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), and studies are warranted. The World Health Organization has classified PM 2.5 as a Group 1 carcinogen, so this is a serious matter worthy of assessment.

  • Red Sage

    Some points that these guys seem to be trying very hard to convince the audience they are entirely unaware of:

    The dealers are not franchises… of Tesla Motors. So the laws should not apply… to Tesla Motors. Dealers aren’t angry because they were ‘cut out’ of distribution of these cars. They are angry because they were never ‘in it’ to begin with.

    There are no oil drips, because the vehicle doesn’t use oil. It is electric.

    22,000 out of 15,000,000 amounts to a whopping 0.1466667% of the US market — there is no threat to the dealers from Tesla Motors.

    They are being serviced through Tesla Motors’ Service Centers.

    The only fires have been after crashes, and no one was hurt. There were no spontaneous eruptions or explosions of battery packs. Those happen to gasoline powered engines all the time though.

    None of the Tesla Stores are repair centers. The Service Centers are in other locations.

    No, people who want the Tesla Model S will get it — from California, if nowhere else.

    It is not an experimental vehicle. It is a complete, fully operational vehicle, legal for use on public roads.

  • OmarSultan

    Tom:

    Perhaps next time you have an expert on to discuss a topic, they should actually be an expert, because Cory Johnson is certainly does not appear to be one. It is impressive to see so much incorrect information and innuendo packed into such a short segment. Off the top of my head:

    SERVICING:
    Tesla maintains traditional service centers across the US where you can take your Tesla in for servicing. If you are not close to a service center, they have Ranger Service where the tech will come to your location. Because the entire drive train has only a couple of dozen moving parts, service requirements are a lot lower and Tesla runs their service department to break even, so there costs are lower.

    PURCHASING:
    You can still purchase a Tesla in all 50 states because all purchasing is done online–even at the Tesla stores, they will direct you to the website to place your order. AZ and TX both have healthy populations of Teslas running around despite the attempts by auto dealers to block Tesla stores in those states. In those states, Tesla personnel cannot do certain things like offer test drives.

    RELIABILITY:
    Consumer Reports readers rated the Model S above average reliability. As far the the two fires that occurred because of collisions–the NHTSA closed their probe last week finding “no defect trend”–something you would expect an expert to know.

    VOLUME:
    So, Tesla sold over 17,000 Model S in 2013 in the US. In Q1 in the US, the Model S outsold the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, MB S Class, and Lexus LS. If you want to call that “experimental” then have at it.

    SUBSIDY:
    Not sure what subsidy he is talking about. If he is talking about the $7,500 tax credit, then that is something that is open to all sort of EVs including cars such as the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf. Nothing specific to Tesla.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    More on the ‘fuel’ cost of EVs and comparison to ICE vehicles.
    Here is a summary of the cost per mile – assuming New England electric costs of $.17/kwh and a flat $.02/mile road maintenance tax:

    Average ICE (28.2mpg) – $.106/mile + $.02tax/m == $.126/mile
    Prius hybrid (50mgp) – $.05/mile + $.02tax/m == $.07/mile
    Telsa S (.38 kwh/mile) – $.076/mile + $.02tax/m == $.096/mile
    Nissan Leaf (.30kwh/m) – $.06/mile + $.02tax/m == $.08/mile

    Some folks argue that the cost of the battery should be factored into the fuel cost. If the battery cost is $12K and it is rated for 100,000 miles then you would add $.12/mile. I’m not sure if that methodology valid. It is certain that the specified battery range will degrade as the battery ages. The Leaf range starts at 75 miles and the Tesla is about 300miles on day 1.

    More on the methodology follows.
    The DOE uses the eGallon metric for EVs which is a comparison tool to compare EVs with an modern 28.2 mpg ICE vehicle. Charging efficiency == 85%.

    As a baseline we’ll remove the gas tax and analyze the cost per mile of both the average ICE and the Prius hybrid. The we’ll use the current national average $3.50/g less that aver $.50/g tax ==> $3/gal. The gas tax varies between $.35-$.70/g depending on the state. For the ave. new vehicle the fuel tax is between $.012 – $.024/mile. For this exercise we’ll use $.02/mile for the road maint. tax for all vehicles.

  • ThatsHowISeeIt

    Wow who’s that guy you have talking about Tesla. He’s completely clueless like he’s from a different century altogether. Not sure if he understands that electric cars don’t need oil changes.

  • HonestDebate1

    I must apologize at the top of the page. I got my numbers wrong. I made the claim that the taxpayers were forced per Volt sold to pay $7500. That is true but it is not the right number.

    For the A-rententive among us I will note I an using round numbers here. I will err on the opposite side of my point. There have been roughly 50,000 Volts sold. Leaving aside the absurdity of the government selling cars the taxpayers ended up roughly 10 billion in the hole. Again, these are round numbers because 3 or so months ago the number sold was 50,240 but we are actually on the hook for hundreds of millions more (if not a billion or more) than 10B. So using my round numbers the taxpayers paid 200,000 per Volt sold… plus $7500.

    My apologies for being off by 200K.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Yuck. And cash for clunkers couldn’t even help the Volt but it did cost the taxpayers $1.4M per job created. Now that is stimulus.

      • HonestDebate1

        It’s amazing how easy it is to spend other people’s money.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Even the liberal media criticized cash for clunkers. However, they immediately went for its failure to reduce CO2 emissions. The wasted money was a footnote.

    • nj_v2

      “There have been roughly 50,000 Volts sold.”

      Closer to 56,000, but who’s counting. Certainly not DisHonestyNonDebatorGreggg, whose posts, with no citations or references, are worth as much as a freezer in Antartica.

      It’s funny he thinks people take him seriously that he post a correction.

      • hennorama

        nj_v2 — what’s actually at play is that he’s unable to admit the truth about his absolutely dishonest claim that “taxpayers were forced to pay $7500 for each one sold,” so he has to add to his dishonesty by ignoring the other 45 million or so vehicles GM has sold since the end of 2008.

        As previously stated, it’s as if he’s combined the titles of two books: No Apology and Double Down.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          “Absolutely dishonest” claim? Really? Do you have evidence?

          Did you intend to say inaccurate claim? I doubt you actually know that the claim is inaccurate. At best it is a quibble. A technicality.

          As best as I can tell the $7500 tax credit is still in force. It is not subject to the AMT. Every leased Volt gets the credit — it just goes to the leasing company. The only folks who don’t get the credit are those who don’t request it on the tax form and those who would have paid less than $7500 in income tax the year they purchased the volt.

          So the spirit of HD claim is true even if technically “every” volt didn’t get a taxpayer funded $7500 rebate. How is this ‘dishonest’ in any way?

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m in her head but thanks WftC. There is certainly an incestuous relationship between GM, the government, the IRS. loans, tax credits etc. that make it confusing. The confusion is in whose money is. The left seems to think government has money. If someone gets a tax cut they are allowed to keep more of their money. That doesn’t cost the government a dime. If fact most of the time revenue will rise as you know. If someone applies a tax credit to their tax liability that does cost the government. They are buying you a car with other people money.

            I figured my comment above (admittedly provocative) would get a rise. The truth is, whatever the number is, $7500 is peanuts compared to the actual cost to the taxpayers. Beyond that, it’s not the governments job. I’ll let the A-retentive nibble around the edges and quibble all they want as they ignore the essential point.

            Yesterday a pretty girl informed me that Bob Lutz okayed the Volt in 2008 (Bush’s fault) so I looked him up and found this:

            “He was to retire from GM at the end of 2009. Lutz said that one reason for his decision was the increasing regulatory climate in Washington that would force GM to produce what Federal regulators wanted, rather than what customers wanted. Lutz has expressed skepticism on the issue of global warming.”

            He is a smart man who was very prescient and knew what the election of Obama meant.

          • hennorama

            WftC — TYFYR.

            I understand that you also have some investment in this particular talking point, but would caution you as to A) who you are defending; and B) your standards for honesty/accuracy/quibbling/technicality/spirit.

            The subject claim is “taxpayers were forced to pay $7500 for each one [Chevy Volt] sold.”

            This fails on multiple fronts:

            1. The nonrefundable Federal tax credit is not paid out to anyone. As you point out by implication, it is neither a refundable credit nor a rebate.

            2. Since the credit is nonrefundable, the full $7500 credit is only available to those whose Federal income tax liability equals or exceeds $7500 in the year the vehicle was originally acquired.

            Let’s look at an example of taxpayers whose Federal income tax liability does not equal or exceed $7500 for tax year 2013:

            Married taxpayers with two qualified dependent children, wages of $97,000 (only one spouse working, with a long commute), standard deductions, and no credits other than the child tax credit.

            Their 2013 Federal tax liability after taking the child tax credit (which is taken prior to the credit for their new Volt) would be $7488. Taking the credit for the Volt leaves $12 on the table.

            As the couple is pretty tax-savvy, they had zero Federal income tax withheld from wages, so they had no refund, and no balance due.

            So now the subject claim has been shown to be invalid, as this taxpayer did not receive any payment, and their tax credit was less than $7500.

            BTW — if you don’t think a bunch of very real taxpayers were unable to take full advantage of this tax credit, all you need do is go to various income tax forums, and various other Volt-related sites, then read their complaints.

            If you prefer to call this claim “inaccurate” rather than “dishonest,” because, as you wrote “technically ‘every’ volt didn’t get a taxpayer funded $7500 rebate,” then please allow me to refer you to the much more controversial claim that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”

            As to the person you are defending, rather than ‘fessing up and admitting error, he makes an even more (using your preferred term) “inaccurate” claim about the overall net taxpayer loss/cost on the GM bailout.

            Is that in any way honest?

            Thanks again for your response.

            Source for tax calculations:
            http://www.hrblock.com/get-answers/tax-calculators.html

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Wow. Just wow.

            B) It sure took you a lot of words to agree with my analysis and support the case that you are just quibbling and nitpicking. Also, I noticed that you failed to provide any evidence that HDs claim that every Volt purchase didn’t receive the rebate. Just ‘anecdotes’ from the blogosphere? You cannot since the IRS does not release that information. Your claim is pure supposition not proof of “absolute dishonesty” and it is still nitpicking on an irrelevant detail.

            A) I have zero issue with HD. It is you that has a problem. I have observed your obsession for some time now with some amusement. Therapy could be an option — or not. Your choice.

          • hennorama

            WftC — TYFYR.

            A few questions:

            1. Is anyone who claims a Federal tax credit for acquiring a Chevy Volt paid anything by the U.S. government?

            2. Given the list price of the Chevy Volt, and the fact that it has been reduced recently, do you believe everyone who has/will purchased one has/will have Federal tax income tax liability that equals or exceeds $7500 in the year the vehicle was/will be originally acquired?

            3. If a statement is not completely true/factual/accurate (pick your preferred term), is the statement “honest”?

            4. If one’s inaccuracy is pointed out, is it “honest” to A) not admit the inaccuracy, and B) make a separate and even more inaccurate claim?

            I look forward to your answers to each of these questions, as well as to my prior question, which is including by implication in Question 4, above.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            1) In effect, yes. Their tax is reduced by said amount.

            2) sorry I don’t understand this question. list price change? sorry I don’t get it.
            3) I gave up on 2.

            As you know, tax credits are incentives in the tax code to ‘pay’ for behavior. I really don’t know what you are getting at. It doesn’t change HD’s original premise.

          • hennorama

            WftC — thank you for your, unfortunately, only partial response.

            1. Either someone is paid or they aren’t, so which is it? If someone who has zero tax liability, and is fully qualified for the credit, claims it, are they “in effect” paid anything? This is not a difficult question, and dodging it does nothing for your credibility.

            2. Last fall, GM announced that they cut the 2014 Chevy Volt’s base price by $5000 vs. the 2013 model year, to $34,995. The point is that these are not luxury vehicles, so that purchasers are much more likely to be in the middle income quintiles, and therefore much more likely to not get the full $7500 Federal credit. With this in mind, please now answer the original question.

            3. The original question is renewed.

            4. The original question is renewed.

            There’s no dispute about the intent of tax incentives, including the nonrefundable Federal tax credit for the Chevy Volt, which ranges from $0 to $7500.

            However, there is a significant difference between a budgetary cost for a variable and nonrefundable credit, for which no taxpayer receives a single cent, and a fixed value rebate, wherein money actually changes hands.

            The subject claim, that “taxpayers were forced to pay $7500 for each one [Chevy Volt] sold,” would be valid if there was a fixed-value tax rebate, but that’s not what the credit is, is it?

            Not only is no one paid, the tax credit is not always the full $7500. To claim otherwise is absolutely dishonest, as it is completely contrary to the facts.

            I again look forward to your answers to all four questions.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            OMG. I can’t believe I wasted a nanosecond of time reading your semantic slicing and dicing.

            You’re fixated on the term ‘payment’? For the moment, let’s assume everyone who bought a Volt was eligible for the full $7500 and filed taxes to receive their ‘credit’. Their tax liability is reduced by $7500. The government is out the $7500 in revenue for each car. That is the point. Withholding planning and refund checks are irrelevant.

            Don’t bother replying. I’m done with this.

          • hennorama

            WftC — no, I’m not fixated. I’m asking for answers to various questions that are not exactly difficult.

            In addition, your assumption is wildly inaccurate, using your preferred term. If a taxpayer who is eligible for and who claims the credit has a tax liability of less than $7500, contrary to what you wrote, “The government is NOT out the $7500 in revenue for each car.”

            “The government” is only “out” the actual amount of the tax liability that is reduced.

            And THAT is the point.

            To claim otherwise is absolutely dishonest.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            What’s the point of asking questions?

            Does it really matter that government is out $375M instead of the potential $380M to the point HD was making? No, it doesn’t.

            It is a quibble. A nitpick. A distraction.

          • hennorama

            WftC — your own comments indicate that the total amount of the credits could be $0 as far as you know.

            If they were actually zero, would that make the claim more or less dishonest?

            And let me again point out that by your logic, President Obama’s oft-repeated statement “if you like your plan you can keep it” would be perfectly fine.

      • HonestDebate1

        I said round numbers but okay. Let’s say 56K but then let’s use the actual 11.1 billion we are on the hook for. That means taxpayers were forced to pay $198,214 per Volt…. plus $7500.

        Better?

  • HonestDebate1

    Why on God’s green earth is Ft. Hood still a gun-free zone?

  • The BigPussycat

    Every automobile manufacturer knows that people will die in their products because of defects in materials and, quality of workmanship. They make a conscious decision. If the costs of paying off a lawsuit is less than the cost of a recall. Then there is not a recall. They have all done it. Why people are surprised is beyond me.

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