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The GM Scandal Is Worse Than You Think
Townhall.com ^ | April 4, 2014 | David Harsanyi

Posted on 04/05/2014 8:44:43 AM PDT by Kaslin

Here's another reason government should never own a business.

In February 2010, the Obama administration's transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, told America, without a shred of evidence, that Toyota automobiles were dangerous to drive. LaHood offered the remarks in front of the House subcommittee that was investigating reports of unintended-acceleration crashes. "My advice is, if anybody owns one of these vehicles, stop driving it," he said, sending the company's stock into a nose dive.

Even at the time, LaHood's comments were reckless at best. Assailing the competition reeks of political opportunism and cronyism. It also illustrates one of the unavoidable predicaments of the state's owning a corporation in a competitive marketplace. And when we put LaHood's comment into perspective today, it's actually a lot worse. The Obama administration not only had the power and ideological motive to damage the largely nonunionized competition but also was busy propping up a company that was causing preventable deaths.

No one is innocent, of course, but not everyone is bailed out. So Toyota, after recalling millions of cars and changing parts and floor mats even before LaHood's outburst -- and after years of being hounded by the administration -- recently agreed to pay a steep fine for its role in the acceleration flap. This, despite the fact that in 2012, Department of Transportation engineers determined that no mechanical failure was present that would cause applying the brakes to initiate acceleration. The DOT conducted tests that determined that the brakes could maintain a stationary car or bring one to a full stop even with the engine racing. It looked at 58 vehicles that were supposedly involved in unintended acceleration and found no evidence of brake failure or throttle malfunction.

Attorney General Eric Holder kept at it, though, and Toyota finally agreed to a $1.2 billion settlement (it has about $60 billion in reserves) to make it go away. Though it looks as if the company doesn't think the fight is worthwhile, for all I know, it's guilty. I'm certain, though, that General Motors is. It announced this week that it was recalling over a million vehicles that had sudden loss of electric power steering. This, after recalling nearly 3 million vehicles for ignition switch problems that the company had known about since 2001 and are now linked to 13 deaths.

GM has apologized. But does anyone believe that the Obama administration took as hard a look at GM as it did Toyota? As early as 2007, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration knew that there may be problems with air bags but never launched a formal investigation. The NHTSA's acting chief, David Friedman, testified that GM never told the agency that faulty switches were at the root of the air bag problem. Fine. Before plowing billions of tax dollars into saving the United Automobile Workers, did the car czar or any other Obama officials take extra care to review DOT records to ensure that taxpayers would not be funding the preventable deaths of American citizens? Would DOT and Holder exhibit the same zealousness for safety with GM as they did when it came to Toyota? In the midst of the bailout debate and subsequent "turnaround," news of a cover-up and major recall would have been a political disaster.

So it's difficult to understand why this isn't a huge scandal. If every obtuse utterance by an obscure Republican congressman gets the media juices flowing, surely the possibility of this kind of negligence is worth a look. Can anyone with access to the administration ask some of these questions? Because if you take credit for "saving" a company (actually, an "industry," as no one would have ever driven again if Obama hadn't saved the day), you also get credit for "saving" the real-life unscrupulous version of the company. "I placed my bet on the American worker," Obama told union workers in 2012. "And I'll make that bet any day of the week. And now, three years later, that bet is paying off." Betting $80 billion of someone else's money to prop up sympathetic labor unions isn't exactly fraught with political risk. Unless it turns out that your administration is less concerned about the safety defects of the company you own than it is about the company you dislike. That would be corruption.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: gm; governmentmotors

1 posted on 04/05/2014 8:44:43 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

” .... fact that in 2012, Department of Transportation engineers determined that no mechanical failure was present that would cause applying the brakes to initiate acceleration.


I knew at the time the Toyota recall was a lot of political garbage. The Hussein administration and union thugs were the ones behind that BS. People should be put in jail.

We have already bailed out the union thug’s pensions. Are we going to have to bail out their employer again?


2 posted on 04/05/2014 8:50:32 AM PDT by boycott
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To: Kaslin

So Obama’s Car Czar decided to cover up everything? The current CEO shouldn’t be on the hook for this, she wasn’t even there. Obama’s people have there dirty hands all over this.


3 posted on 04/05/2014 8:53:18 AM PDT by madison10
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To: Kaslin

I own an old Toyota pickup and love it.

Have bought my last GM (Government Motors) vehicle. Last one was a Saturn VUE with CVT transmission. At 108,000 miles transmission failed, no longer economically repairable. Ran great, wife loved it but before they went out of business I got the shaft. Bought it with 4,000 miles on it from dealership. Was going to cost 4,500 dollars to repair transmission when it failed. It is still setting in the driveway at the farm. It’s probably been 6 years since it ran.

I am through with them. Forever.


4 posted on 04/05/2014 8:55:38 AM PDT by Texas Fossil (Texas is not where you were born, but a Free State of Heart, Mind & Attitude!)
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To: madison10

The current CEO worked for GM, I believe I heard 33 years, she had to have known something. But...she is now stuck with it.


5 posted on 04/05/2014 8:58:12 AM PDT by dforest
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To: Kaslin

Nothing will happen to these turds. They get away with everything they do. From the obama care to benghazi and the list just keeps on going. There is no leadership with the RINOs. So this is what we get.


6 posted on 04/05/2014 9:00:25 AM PDT by Busko (The only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain.)
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To: Texas Fossil

We have one German car...Mercedes...and one English built car....Jaguar. Before those we owned 2 Toyotas. We haven’t owned an actual American car company car since 1992....and never will again.
The Jag is getting old and I plan on buying another Mercedes.


7 posted on 04/05/2014 9:04:43 AM PDT by sheana
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To: Kaslin
And nothing will happen to GM or those responsible. As usual the communists empire strikes again. America is so full of corruption that it cannot survive many more years. Thanks primarily to the new communists Democrats and their empire.
8 posted on 04/05/2014 9:07:30 AM PDT by Logical me
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To: Kaslin

Now the Senate committee is meeting and turning their burning gaze upon the poor unfortunate who was given the duty to be the whipping boy, or girl in this instance, the sacrificial lamb led to slaughter for errors and omissions made, while under the watchful eye of both the UAW and the government bailout specialists.

GM was, and still is, by no means “too big to fail”. Fail it should have, back when the bailout was first considered. Had the firm gone bankrupt, it could have been fully reorganized by now, and emerged as a smaller but much more viable entity, shorn of most of its most egregious liabilities. Sure, GM retirees would have had to pay for their own “Medigap” insurance out of their own pocket, but for most of the retirees, this is not a poverty trap. They may have to rearrange some of their retirement plans, but, hey, a LOT of us have had to do that since 2010.

Let GM go bust on this sudden new liability “discovered” only far after the fact, pay off all the liability suits, or get them voided, and sell the remaining assets (if any) to whatever bidder is willing to either make the enterprise viable, or liquidate it altogether.

Whatever “bailout money” the US Treasury threw into the effort is already gone, with no hope of ever recovering it under the current form of economics now practiced in the territory once known as “the United States of America”.

Of course, the economic system could be allowed to revert to what existed as January 1, 2007. But that may be asking a bit much of the ideologues who have succeeded in capturing occupancy of the White Hut.


9 posted on 04/05/2014 9:08:20 AM PDT by alloysteel (Selective and willful ignorance spells doom, to both victim and perpetrator - mostly the perp.)
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To: sheana

We own a 3/4 ton Ford pickup and a Mercury car. Neither that new, but quite functional.

I drive the old Toyota. Not a looker, but a reliable cheap operating work truck. Works for me.


10 posted on 04/05/2014 9:09:59 AM PDT by Texas Fossil (Texas is not where you were born, but a Free State of Heart, Mind & Attitude!)
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To: Texas Fossil

Before the Toyotas I always drove Chevys...mostly Camaros. Within 3 months they all had rattles. I’d have matchbooks sticking in the vents to stop the rattles that drove me nuts.
We bought a Toyota Avalon and I drove it for 10 yrs. Not one rattle when we finally sold it.
If I find a car that doesn’t rattle I am ecstatic. lol Those noises just drive me crazy.


11 posted on 04/05/2014 9:14:07 AM PDT by sheana
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To: Texas Fossil

I had a diesel 2500 06 and overall liked it as a towing vehicle, but would not own another one. Minor defects of controls and repair prices drove me away..
Twice I shut the engine down by hitting my knee on the key chain..fortunately when stopped maneuvering a trailer. So it isn’t just the cars that have the problem. All of their controls are clunky. The cruise control etc. just don’t like them.


12 posted on 04/05/2014 9:14:53 AM PDT by Oldexpat
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To: Texas Fossil

Ray Lahood is a real idiot..fortunately he is gone from the house and the cabinet and hopefully will never return. He was a political hack working for go along to get along..Bob Michel.


13 posted on 04/05/2014 9:16:25 AM PDT by Oldexpat
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To: Kaslin
So it's difficult to understand why this isn't a huge scandal.

It's not difficult at all with a lock-step fascist press in the pocket of the Regime.

14 posted on 04/05/2014 9:16:33 AM PDT by Flick Lives ("I can't believe it's not Fascism!")
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To: Kaslin

Just what one would expect from an evil and very corrupt administration.


15 posted on 04/05/2014 9:20:31 AM PDT by mulligan (I)
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To: Kaslin
As is usually the case, this Democrat/Liberal/Media scandal is not easily summarized in a simplistic phrase like "Bush lied, people died". The average public high school graduate does not has an attention span long enough to understand this situation. In any event, the White House would dismiss this as "old news" and call it a "fake scandal" created by "partisan Republicans".

Our Republic is lost. My best hope is for portions of the country to secede.

16 posted on 04/05/2014 9:39:38 AM PDT by Senator_Blutarski
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To: Texas Fossil
I've owned 1 GM car in my life, and it was a pure lemon from the get-go. Bought it used from a foreigner from my wife's country who was forced to return (visa ended), and only did it as a favor to him. That's what I get for being a nice guy... a mistake on my part...

I am in my time schedule to be buying new or replacement cars. I have especially been avoiding GM cars (GM = Government Motors = Unions and Cronyism at it's worst). First replacement was a VW TDI for the wife for the quality and safety, but especially since the workers rejected the unions. Some friends at work who are GM bigots berated me for my choice, but I constantly hear about the problems they have with their cars and repeat trips to the dealerships for repairs. Plus 45-50 mpg for a diesel car is pretty appealing...

My car right now is an old Mercury Grand Marquis. It's showing it's age a bit, but still one of the most comfortable and fun cars I have ever owned. Feel I need a truck on the next go-around, so will definitely be looking at Fords. Might still keep the old Mercury around as a spare, as I believe with a little care it will run forever...

I hope GM gets the full monty for hiding the deadly defects they covered up, and hope it comes back on the administration as well...

17 posted on 04/05/2014 9:44:51 AM PDT by Dubh_Ghlase (Therefore, send not to know For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.)
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To: Kaslin
"The DOT conducted tests that determined that the brakes could maintain a stationary car or bring one to a full stop even with the engine racing."

Anyone who believes this BS needs to watch this video.

18 posted on 04/05/2014 9:59:50 AM PDT by Fresh Wind (The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.)
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To: Kaslin

Ray LaHood: infamous islamist facilitator.


19 posted on 04/05/2014 10:04:54 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: Oldexpat

“Ray Lahood is a real idiot..fortunately he is gone from the house and the cabinet and hopefully will never return. He was a political hack working for go along to get along..Bob Michel.”

The worst part of it is LaHood is nominally a Repubican, along with this a$$hole current Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. And then there’s Mark Jerk and the “lightbulb” guy from Michigan. When you consider that “republicans” elected these turds to public office initially, you begin to understand the dimensions of our problems as a country. We often discuss the morons in the RAT party, when in truth, there are equal numbers in the RINO party.


20 posted on 04/05/2014 10:07:13 AM PDT by vette6387
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To: Texas Fossil

Good flower bed


21 posted on 04/05/2014 10:46:58 AM PDT by Cen-Tejas (it's the debt bomb stupid!)
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To: Cen-Tejas

Never thought of that. hee hee hee

Not sure it is worth hauling to the wrecking yard. It looks good, motor still intact and reliable. But with no transmission, is worthless.


22 posted on 04/05/2014 11:20:54 AM PDT by Texas Fossil (Texas is not where you were born, but a Free State of Heart, Mind & Attitude!)
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To: Fresh Wind

Looked like the Toyota stopped to me, just took more distance.
And he was only using his left leg which is likely weaker.


23 posted on 04/05/2014 11:25:17 AM PDT by nascarnation (Toxic Baraq Syndrome: hopefully infecting a Dem candidate near you)
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To: Fresh Wind

BS to your BS.

Unless someone’s dumb enough (why?) to intentionally fade the brakes by repeatedly applying and disengaging them against full-throttle acceleration (yes, you can intentionally damage your brakes that way). What the fool in the video did. (Again, why?)

Simple question: What’s the 0-60 vs. 60-0 time of your car? There’s your answer to brakes vs. engine. Brakes win. Every time.

OTOH, there’s no protection against being stupid. A Darwin Prize awaits.


24 posted on 04/05/2014 12:46:49 PM PDT by Moltke (Sapere aude!)
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To: Kaslin

NASA did a cool DPA on the Toyota throttle assembly and control


25 posted on 04/05/2014 12:58:32 PM PDT by Dawggie
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To: Kaslin; et al

As I recall, the fed gov undertook the operation of a Nevada whore house some time back with the resultant F.U.B.A.R. result. (pun?)


26 posted on 04/05/2014 3:50:48 PM PDT by S.O.S121.500 (Had Enough Yet ? ........................ Enforce the Bill of Rights ......... It's the LAW !!!)
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To: nascarnation
Looked like the Toyota stopped to me, just took more distance

The difference between 140 feet and 500 feet can be the difference between life and death.

And once the brakes were pumped (depleting the vacuum in the power brake accumulator), the car wouldn't slow down at all (unless the engine was shut off altogether).

27 posted on 04/05/2014 5:12:42 PM PDT by Fresh Wind (The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.)
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To: Moltke
Unless someone’s dumb enough (why?) to intentionally fade the brakes by repeatedly applying and disengaging them against full-throttle acceleration (yes, you can intentionally damage your brakes that way). What the fool in the video did. (Again, why?)

What the "fool" did in the video was to demonstrate a worst case possibility in a car he didn't own, so he wasn't worried about damage.

And he also demonstrated that the problem was fixed by Toyota through a relatively simple software change.

This wasn't a matter of fading the brakes, it was causing the power assist to stop working by bleeding off the vacuum that couldn't be replenished because the engine was at full throttle. It's the same thing that happened in olden times with vacuum-operated wipers. They worked fine at idle and low-throttle cruise, but when accelerating, they slowed down to practically nothing.

The point of the video, which you apparently missed, was that in a panic situation, a not-so-strong driver could have had a very difficult time stopping the car if the throttle was stuck open. Toyota did find that some of their cars did have pedal assemblies that had a tendency to stick, and they also had problems with floor mats getting out of place.

The bottom line is that Toyota recognized their problem, and took the necessary actions to fix them, unlike GM, which tried to avoid the problem while their customers were dying on the road.

There's no question that politics entered into this, both in the publicity over the problem and the fine that was levied on them.

But it's not valid to claim that there was no underlying problem with Toyotas, as many people seem to believe.

28 posted on 04/05/2014 5:48:55 PM PDT by Fresh Wind (The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.)
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To: Oldexpat

The only American vehicle that I would buy again is a Ford F-150. It is a great pickup truck.


29 posted on 04/05/2014 6:51:24 PM PDT by cpdiii
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To: Kaslin
I'd like to buy an early 70s Pontiac, one of the cars I wanted but couldn't afford when I was younger, and restore it, bringing the paint, interior and systems up to 2014 standards.

But, no matter how much I'd like to have something like a new Corvette, there's no way I'd buy a new GM car or truck.

I went from the "Chevrolet's the only way" of my youth to "No way I'd buy a Chevrolet" today.

GM took a bite from the apple, liked it, then ate the whole thing and now the poison flows freely in their veins, killing the good while rewarding the bad.

None for me, thanks. Trying to quit.

30 posted on 04/06/2014 9:27:26 AM PDT by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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