Dan Maffei Joins Bob Corker in Trying to Rewrite BK Law Just for Car Dealers

Somewhat related breaking news: Ruth Bader Ginsburg has stayed the finalization of the Chrysler BK so the full court can decide whether to hear the Indiana Pension Fund’s appeal.

Dan Maffei is introducing a bill called the "Automobile Dealer Economic Rights Restoration Act," which basically restores Chrysler and GM dealer contracts even though both companies are in bankruptcy. In his bill, he makes the following claims:

(1) Automobile dealers are an asset to automobile manufacturers that make it possible to serve communities and sell automobiles nationally;

(2) Forcing the closure of automobile dealers would have an especially devastating economic impact in rural communities, where dealers play an integral role in the community, provide essential services and serve as a critical economic engine;

(3) The manufacturers obtain the benefits from having a national dealer network at no material cost to the manufacturers; and

(4) Historically, automobile dealers have had franchise agreement protections under State law.

Uh huh. "The manufacturers obtain the benefits from having a national dealer network at no material cost to the manufacturers." That’s nice.

That’s also really funny, because the BoGlo has a story up that–while it allows the manufacturers (particularly GM) to inflate the benefit they’ll get from paring their dealer network–nevertheless gives an idea of how important cutting dealers will be to any future success of these companies.

Remaining dealerships will be able to charge more for cars, analysts say, because fewer dealerships make it harder for buyers to spark bidding wars. And as auto companies scale back factory production, heavy discounts and dealer incentives will dry up.

Tom Wilkinson, a GM spokesman, said once the "current glut" of car brands disappears, prices for GM cars will increase anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000 for a new vehicle.

Chrysler expects to see a price increase on new cars in the range of $1,000 to $2,000 over the next year or two, said Kathy Graham, a company spokeswoman. She cautioned, however, that prices are ultimately "market-driven."


Paul Bertoli, co-owner of Pride Motor Group in Lynn, which sells Chevrolets, said that after GM emerges from bankruptcy – which is expected in 60 to 90 days – customers will flock to him.

"The Chevrolet competition is going to be the Ford dealer, the Toyota dealer, the Honda dealer," he said. "Not another Chevrolet dealer."Sales figures bear it out. GM dealerships across the nation sold 440 new vehicles on average in 2008, compared to Toyota’s 1,150, according to Ward’s Dealer Business. Chrysler sold 480 on average, compared to Honda, which sold 760.

This is exactly right (and the dealers all know it): the sheer number of dealers has been forcing American brand dealers to get into bidding wars with their close neighbors, driving down the price of the car and with it the profitability and perceived value of the car in the marketplace. Trimming dealer networks is probably the single biggest thing GM needs to do (aside from getting rid of its huge debtload) to become a more effective company. Without a smaller dealer network–and the profitability it brings–GM will be doomed to mediocrity and continued decline in the future.  Nevertheless our legislators want to pass laws that exempt dealers from the bankruptcy process, as if dealer employees are somehow more cherished than all the other workers and small businessmen getting screwed by this deal and this downturn.

Dan Maffei has gotten $20,000 from the UAW over the course of his short career–one of his top donors aside from the DFHs using ActBlue.  I wonder how the UAW would feel if they learned that their jobs were somehow less an integral role in their community than dealer employees?

64 replies
  1. seesdifferent says:

    according to Nate Silver, 81% of dealers are GOPers. And they are the largest political contributors in the auto industry.
    My personal impression is that auto dealers are a bunch of rich rectums who run dishonest repair shops.

  2. oldtree says:

    That’s the way to kill capitalism! But even better, kill any chance GM has of being competitive so those bribes from Toyota keep coming in. Who says Corker isn’t a socialist?

  3. freepatriot says:

    this is the new Terri Schivo for the repuglitards

    hate to be so callous about it, but that is what it is

    and wouldn’t it be a bit socialist for the congress to intervene directly in the management of this company ???

  4. emptywheel says:

    It’s not just REpublicans–Dan Maffei is a liberal Democrat from Syracuse NY area. I tell you, sucking up to auto dealers is a bipartisan phenom (and, having worked with dealers in China, India, and Thailand, I think it’s actually a universal characteristic of the human condition).

    • DeadLast says:

      The big issue here for liberal democrats is that car dealerships are a major source of sales tax revenues for the cities that have them. Some rural communities here in California are complaining that they will lose as much as 20% of their operating budget if the local dealership closes. This affects schools, police, fire, and in some cases the existence of the city charter.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        Sales tax loss is an issue for everybody, not just liberal democrats.

        Boxturtle (Dayton OH figures to lose millions)

      • emptywheel says:

        First, rural dealers at least were supposed to be protected disproportionately, per the filings from last year. Rural areas are an area where GM and Chrysler still have a lot of brand loyalty, and their rural reach is one of their competitive advantages over Toyota. So I really won’t be sympathetic at all until someone shows me that rural dealers have been hurt more than suburban ones.

        Second, are you really telling someone from MI what happens when local businesses get shuttered? Really?!?!?!?!

        You know, I know that. Yes, do I ever know that. But the whole point is EVERYONE gets hurt when jobs get lost. The whole point was to try to make these companies viable. I’m sorry that Fresno will feel a mere pinch of the pain that other parts of the country are feeling on this issue, really I am. But I don’t see why it makes sense to force companies to be uncompetitive when the whole point is that unless they’re competitive, many many many more jobs will be lost.

  5. BoxTurtle says:

    The Supreme court has just delayed the Chrysler sale according to a banner on CNN. No other details yet.

    Boxturtle (And that’s the news)

  6. wohjr says:

    I’m a bit confused about this. It was my understanding that though priority of payment schemes are usually followed (w/r/t bondholders in bankruptcy), the relevant case law does in fact say that the priority scheme can be discarded at the discretion of the bankruptcy court in the presence of extenuating circumstances. Is this not correct? I can dig up a cite but it’ll take a bit– am I way off base on this though?

    • BoxTurtle says:

      My understanding is that the BK court has the power to toss any agreement. While it’s likely that the judge will follow GM’s desired path fairly closely, he could in theory look at the books and say “Folks, this is smoke and mirrors and we’re moving to Chapter 7″. Or he could appoint a receiver to perform the same book look and delay things for quite awhile.

      Boxturtle (Repeat: It’s likely he’ll follow GM’s path pretty closely)

      • wohjr says:

        Right, so I guess this is where my confusion is coming in. What is the potential issue under the law that would require this to be reviewed by SCOTUS, if my understanding of the law is correct?

        More generally, why be involved in such a politically charged issue if there is no issue under the law?

        EW- Just seeing your comment now. So the priority-of-payment issue is not what is being contested by IN pension fund at all? That seems odd, given how much commentary has been expended on the question in WSJ pages…

        • foothillsmike says:

          I think that one of the points being argued is that the law that was passed by congress to enable TARP was to rescue financial organizations and not the automobile industry.

        • BoxTurtle says:

          Have to wait for the Supremes to give more detail. This was a single justice hold, issued simply because the district stay was about to expire. There may not BE an issue, she may just need time to digest the mighty shitload of documentation.

          Boxturtle (Note: 1 mighty shitload = 17.5 shitloads)

          • foothillsmike says:

            This is opposed to one mighty super duper shitload which would equal 17.5 times 10 to the 23 power shitloads.

            • seesdifferent says:

              I think you must be referring to a “whole shitload.”

              MARINE MATH

              The Korean War, in which the Marine Corps

              fought and won some of its most brutal

              battles, was not without its gallows humor.

              During one such conflict a ROK

              ( Republic of Korea ) commander, whose
              unit was fighting along with the Marines,

              called legendary Marine General Chesty Puller,

              to report a major Chinese attack in his sector.

              “How many Chinese are attacking you?”

              asked Puller.
              “Many, many Chinese!”

              replied the excited Korean officer.

              General Puller asked for another count

              and got the same answer,

              “Many, many, many Chinese!”

              “X*#dammit!” swore Puller,

              “Put my Marine liaison officer on the radio.”

              In a minute, an American voice came over the air:

              “Yes sir?”

              “Lieutenant,” growled Chesty,

              “exactly how many Chinese you got up there?”

              “General, we got a whole shitload

              of Chinese up here!”

              “Thank God.” exclaimed Puller,

              “At least there’s someone up there

              that knows how to count.

          • emptywheel says:

            Yeah, this may not end up being anything. Most people still think it won’t be. Still, I’d sleep better if we had could keep our total number of manufacturers in BK down to just one in this state.

            Or maybe I could ask Maffei to just change the rules.

            • Rayne says:

              It may not be anything in the long run, but over the short term, auto suppliers cannot afford even a day without payment.

              The banks — same ones which sold fraudulent subprime loans and bundled under-collateralized CDOs — are leaning HARD on suppliers to remain in terms even though the banks know damned well where the money is and when it’s supposed to be let loose. A number of banks are waiting for obligations to be paid down once the next payments come in (in case of GM suppliers, early July) at which time the banks will cut off credit to these auto suppliers as “high risk.” Same auto suppliers will then have no credit to use to generate capital equipment or parts for any of the Big Three even after the emergence of the new Fiat-Chrysler and GM-post-BK.

              We are LONG way from fixing this mess; have absolutely no freaking idea how anybody is going to pull off delivery of new models in 2010, including Ford and the foreign firms since they all rely on the same network of suppliers.

              Ruth B-G, I love ya, but you gotta’ work fast, girlfriend.

              • emptywheel says:

                I hear you. I wasn’t kidding when I was talking about losing sleep. We can’t have both of them in BK at the same time. We still might not make it but we definitely can’t with them both in BK.

              • klynn says:

                And, second and third tier suppliers are looking at a 20% layoffs in the next few months, after asking people to take furloughs. “To match the new market” is what management is stating. Read between the lines: because of the “smaller” auto industry.

                • Rayne says:

                  Yeah, I hear you loud and clear, you and EW both. Very ugly pillow talk these days, the sleepless kind as EW suggests.

                  Does the company layoff a president to keep two junior staffers? but what if the president is already working business management, program and project management and most importantly, sales? What if one of the remaining projects has an unexpected cost overrun, who takes a layoff to offset the cash loss? what happens if another worker in a self-insured supplier business develops an acute health problem which cuts into expenses?

                  And when the banks cut off credit, how does the supplier remain cash neutral with rather large delays in payment expected because of the on-going bankruptcy proceedings?

                  I have what feels like a chronic headache from gritting my teeth; I can’t even imagine how my spouse is getting through the day each day.

    • emptywheel says:

      Part of the challenge is based on a challenge to this use of TARP funds. Of course, they’ve got a problem bc they didn’t challenge when it was keeping the company alive.

  7. foothillsmike says:

    Let me get this straight. Corker wanted Chrysler and GM to go into BK and did not want the government to bail them out and now wants the dealers bailed out despite their being a drag on the companies profitability.

    • foothillsmike says:

      Additionally he doesn’t think the government should interfere in the running of these private companies.

  8. foothillsmike says:

    Have the attorneys for Chrysler had an opportunity (or the time needed) to file a response to the Indiana fund attorneys?

  9. zhiv says:

    I love the reporting on this issue here–it’s just such classic emptywheel stuff. If you hang out here, you’ve been aware of the dealer crisis from the very beginning, when ew said that the dealers were a huge problem that nobody was talking about. But look at the sequence from the perspective of, well, just about everybody, even congressfolks. Dealers? What do dealers have to do with it? Why would they close dealerships? Aren’t there enough problems? And there’s precious little info that follows about the way that dealers factor into the cost structure, their burdensome contracts, the price impacts, etc.–everything that gets discussed here regularly. On top of all that you get the vicious hypocrisy of Corker.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It often ends up being money that talks – here, from dealers and their Republic network – not votes. GM needs a rational way to cut dealers, not a temporarily less damaging way to keep the same number.

    Mr. Maffei backs a half-witted bail-out that exactly demonstrates the thinking that repetitively got GM into trouble. That thinking and its associated priorities haave delayed numerous fixes to the point that they are being attempted only now that the company has been shipped, but not processed at, the knacker’s yard.

    • emptywheel says:

      Mr. Maffei backs a half-witted bail-out that exactly demonstrates the thinking that repetitively got GM into trouble. That thinking and its associated priorities haave delayed numerous fixes to the point that they are being attempted only now that the company has been shipped, but not processed at, the knacker’s yard.

      Well, and where does he think the money will come from? It took a billion to get out of Oldsmobile. We’re talking about a bunch more than that if GM is required to buy back stock, not to mention the hit it will have on the retail market. Should we just provide that to the mftrs in addition to DIP funding, just so the pain is all concentrated in one big pocket in the middle of the country?

      • foothillsmike says:

        I do feel for the teachers and police fund recipients in Indiana just like I feel for the many fund holders that have been burned across the country. Hopefully they were diversified enough that they will be able to recover from this loss.

        • Loo Hoo. says:

          Well, yes. Schwartzenegger is getting rid of textbooks in CA in favor of digital texts, but I’m confident that the NCLB TESTING will go on. (Raw Story)

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It’s a game of musical chairs: no Congresscritter wants his favorites left without a money seat when the music stops. Worse, like GM in its heydey, no one wants to bite the bullet and restructure as needed to make the remaining, more narrowly-defined business competitive.

        These sorts of mini-bail-outs detract from credibly restructuring GM. They increase the odds the “reorganized” company will fail. That will lead to massive additional costs, much of which will be “outsourced”, externalized to workers and the communities that have long provided GM a leg up in exchange for jobs and other promises that will no longer be fulfilled. That, in turn, would feed the David Brooks, neocon meme that government is incapable of being a credible economic actor and should just stay out of it, leaving decisions to actors even more compromised by greed and conflicts of interest.

        If Obama wants to guarantee the failure of his economic initiatives to date, he should encourage Mr. Maffei and others like him. Or he should leave Harry Reid to do what he does best – cluster it up, while trying to convince voters he should be re-elected so he can keep on doing it.

  11. emptywheel says:

    Oh, I feel for everyone in this situation. But that’s the thing–there are no parties who are avoiding the hurt.

    But Dan Maffei and Bob Corker think they shoudl get some dispensation.

    • Rayne says:

      Corker is the very last guy who deserves dispensation. The assistance foreign facilities in his state have received along with their dealerships should be ample weighting against his need for any help. The only assistance needed in his state is Penske’s Saturn, which could prove to be the kind of competitive pressure on the quality front the other carmakers need if Penske can fix the branding problems Saturn has had since day one. That kind of assistance would save more jobs than the other GM dealerships in his state, and you don’t hear Corker whining about Saturn anymore.


  12. MadDog says:

    EW, it seems it’s not just Maffei and Corked. Per Politico:

    House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) are joining about 100 Democrats in pressuring the Obama administration to restore auto franchise agreements to about 2,000 Chrysler and GM dealers who would be shuttered under the automakers’ structured bankruptcies…

    Seems you can take the Blue Dogs out of the Republicans, but you can’t take the Republican out of the Blue Dogs.

  13. MadDog says:

    Totally OT – (via AP, so caveat emptor!!!):

    CIA urges judge to keep detainee papers secret

    CIA Director Leon Panetta told a federal judge Monday that releasing documents about the agency’s terror interrogations would gravely damage national security.

    Panetta sent a 24-page missive to New York federal judge Alvin Hellerstein, arguing that release of agency cables describing tough interrogation methods used on al-Qaida suspects would tell the enemy far too much about U.S. counterterrorism work…

    • MadDog says:

      And now the WaPo chimes in:

      CIA Urges Judge To Keep Bush-Era Documents Sealed

      …Although Panetta’s statement is in keeping with his previous opposition to the disclosure of other information about the CIA’s interrogation policies and practices during George W. Bush’s presidency, it represents a new assertion by the Obama administration that the CIA should be allowed to keep such information secret. Bush’s critics have long hoped that disclosure would pinpoint responsibility for actions they contend were abusive or illegal…

      …The “disclosure of explicit details of specific interrogations” would provide al-Qaeda “with propaganda it could use to recruit and raise funds,” Panetta said, describing the contents at issue as “ready-made ammunition.” He also submitted a classified statement to the court that he said explains why detainees could use the contents to hide information in the future, even though Obama has promised that the United States will not use the harsh interrogation techniques again.

      Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s national security program, said yesterday evening that it is “grim” and “troubling” for the Obama administration to say that information about purported abuses should be withheld because it might fuel anti-American propaganda. He said that amounts to an assertion that “the greater the abuse, the more important it is that it should remain secret…”

      • Petrocelli says:

        Thanks for reminding me … I have to e-mail Mr. Jaffer and thank him for fighting the good fight.

      • MadDog says:

        I forgot to mention that all should read the rest of that WaPo article. Lot’s of good info.

        I couldn’t bring myself to copy more since I would become a copyright infringer – doG forbid!

        Wish we had a copy of the filing (hint, hint to those who have Pacer access *g*).

  14. Ishmael says:

    Bloomberg – “Fiat Will “Never” Walk Away From Chryser”

    According to Marchionne – not sure this is the smartest move from Fiat – it just might convince 4 SCOTUS judges that they can think long and hard about the TARP issues – even though they are quite arguably not justiciable.


    • bmaz says:

      My issues are not related to the Indiana Pension action specifically, and Kagan may well be right. Either way, i don’t see the Supremes going further, I don’t think there will be five votes for it. That said, I am somewhat aghast at the wham bam thank you ma’am pace that has occurred with this BK. They are 38 days into it and are about to emerge from not only an appeal through the Circuit Court of Appeals, but a review for cert by the Supreme Court. The big concerns in this were indeed probably set as to the result that would maintain because of the negotiating pre-BK and the inherent BK law provisions of majority binder. But what of the dealers, suppliers and miscellaneous smaller creditors? They are being completely extinguished through a BK entry and exit and never had even a sliver of a chance at real due process or fair hearing. This has been occasioned through the force of the Obama Administration and Wall Street. It is almost certainly the most efficient way to get something critical done and, as Marcy and Rayne have said, Michigan lies in the lurch. But it still strikes me that the due process protections, claim protections of last resort for many parties, have been bastardized and obliterated in the name of efficiency and speed. Another case of when something too big comes along, our established principles and laws, especially those of due process, are shot to hell. Bad precedent that has ill served us has been set in other areas (take privacy/wiretapping and liberty/detention/torture for instance) and I fear that is exactly what is occurring here. The exception has been made in Chrysler, Obama has already announced he intends to do the same for GM, the biggest bankruptcy in history; you can bet this is a new feature, and not a bug, to be brandished by the Executive Branch and Wall Street masters of the universe. Yippee, all hail the great Constitutional scholar Obama.

      • Ishmael says:

        Yes, the Chrysler Chapter 11 proceedings went at light speed, and the Indiana pension fund raised many of the issues you do about process:

        “….This matter also raises an important issue of first impression: whether, and to what extent, section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code may be construed to permit a debtor, even under exigent circumstances, to deal with substantially all of its assets and liabilities without complying with the Congressionally-mandated procedural and substantive protections specified in sections 1122-1129 of the Bankruptcy Code for such transactions.”


        But this has not been your father’s Oldsmobile bankruptcy – it has really been brought in for a (hopefully) soft landing with almost all of the stakeholders (except the dealers, who could have made their own deal long ago like the unions and lenders) having reached agreement in a form of pre-packaged Ch.11. And there has been substantial assistance for the suppliers – previous injections of govt money to Chrysler and GM required payments to suppliers to keep them going. I hear you on the exigent circumstances justifying all kinds of crap and the bad precedent, but I really see no alternative to how things have played out so far, except for the dealers.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah, I know. But if you are willing to obliterate the rules for “something big”, there will always be something big. This kind of slippery slope never reverses its slide; it is the same exact freaking process that has eviscerated the 4th Amendment and led to the effective neutering of Miranda and the exclusionary rule. To me, the process, and due process, is always more important than any individual problem and result. I understand what is going on and why it is being done; still leaves a real bitter taste in my mouth. It will come back to haunt us in years to come, just wait.

          • Rayne says:

            It’s rather like physics, though; there’s Newtonian physics, and there’s quantum physics. The rules change depending on scale.

            The problem is that we haven’t established clear rules for businesses that are too big to fail, so big that they cause economic collapse. Their failure becomes an issue of national security; not threatened by weapons and ordinance, but asymmetric attack by economics. We need rules which address this kind of failure versus the failure of a business in the ordinary scale of things where the assets and personnel are shuffled and resorbed into the body of business and redistributed to those who can do better with the same, either through reorganization or dissolution.

            • bmaz says:

              I understand the conundrum fully, but the root concept of American law is that it provides fundamental fairness and equal protection irrespective of wealth or size. What you have just laid out, special rules for the powerful and conglomerated, flies directly in the face of that. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the situation, and what is at stake, I just think that more thought should have been given to opportunity to be heard for the interested parties that were not in the big classes; instead they were simply blown by. I agree with the result occurring, it was the fact that process was voided that bothers me. There could have been special accelerated hearings for them, alternate fora provided; hell there could have been at least been an acknowledgment that they were being given the fast short shrift. Instead they were simply discarded. This is how the rule of law is rotted. Even if things were to be super accelerated, they could have been done far better, more transparently and with a better view to the spirit of the protections supposedly afforded. But Obama and Wall Street simply don’t give a fuck about that, it is all about political and business efficacy. Sorry, I do not abide that.

      • emptywheel says:

        Though you could argue–for the dealers–that the sheer fossilization of state franchise laws made BK the one hammer that would work.

        • bmaz says:

          I absolutely agree with that; I simply maintain that they were entitled to a better, and the public a more transparent, process before they were crunched. Even if ultra-accelerated, there did not have to be the opacity that was the case here. It could have been handled better even though the same result maintained. But the powers that be knew they had the power and simply did not care as much about the process as I do.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      I like this:

      Yes, Comey approved the first memo. And that certainly tarnishes his reputation. Comey, almost alone among senior Justice Department officials, had somehow managed to emerge with his reputation intact — so much so that Politico even reported in May that “some White House officials” (and I’m assuming they meant this White House, not the last one) were suggesting he was Supreme Court material.

      Hadn’t heard the SC interest before.

      Bet Mary and bmaz ain’t in agreement.

  15. prostratedragon says:

    Has this article by James Kwak at Baseline Scenario been noted? In addition to the discussion there, Kwak links to some articles by Stephen Jakubowski at the Bankruptcy Litigation Blog, which are maybe all the more interesting for having been written just after the initial filing. The part I linked treats absolute priority, while part II of the series treats the true sale vs. sub rosa reorganization aspects. It is in the latter part that the balance among need for speed, due process, and the incentive and fiduciary aspects are treated, according to a recent case Jakobowski cites (In re Gulf Coast Oil Corp., 2009 WL 361741 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. 2/11/09)).

    Whole thing looks like interesting collateral reading to stave off preoccupation while waiting for SCOTUS.

    • Rayne says:

      Wow, I hope bmaz reads that bit from Baseline Scenario, thanks, PD.

      The fund is barking up the wrong tree; in fact if I were a pensioner relying on that Indiana pension fund, I’d sue the fund manager.

      What asshole in their right mind would have bought Chrysler’s debt at a time when gas prices were approaching $4.00 a gallon, to put into a pension fund?? What a volatile, contrarian, high-risk move, completely inappropriate to a pension fund.

      In fact if gave more of a rat’s ass about the Indiana fund, I’d take the time to look into any possible relationship between the fund’s manager and Dan Quayle at Cerberus because I can think of only one rational if illegal reason why an Indiana pension fund manager would buy into already financially troubled Chrysler’s debt last summer. Ahem.

      • bmaz says:

        I said from the start that I was not much interested in the position of the Indiana Pension funds; they are not the point. The point is that there is a whole group of creditors that have been effectively, even if not totally, precluded from their due process opportunity to be heard. Entities that are bondholders and stockholders etc. sit in far different shoes than those I am talking about. Listen, again, I know this is the right thing for expediency for the greater effort; I just have problems in the blithe taking of interested parties’ due process without a viable chance to participate in the negotiations and pre-pak process. The result that these parties get axed in the long run, I fully agree with. They had a freaking right to be heard, and as far as I can tell, they didn’t get it. Maybe others don’t agree, but to me, protection of the principles is paramount, even if it is accelerated. Rayne, they could have been more transparent with these minor parties and STILL gotten to where they did, darn near as fast as they did. But they didn’t make that effort because it simply wasn’t convenient. I hold that against Obama and Wall Street; mostly against Obama because he is the alleged “Constitutional scholar” (what a fucking joke).

        • Rayne says:

          And I do understand what you’re saying…but if the entire economy faces a potential depression if this doesn’t get pulled off safely AND quickly, the hierarchy of creditors from top to bottom are going to lose even more than what they have invested.

          I agree this should have been more transparent. The moment that government money, taxpayers’ funds, were put on the line, there should have been absolute transparency, even at the risk of cluing in all foreign competitors on the proprietary nuts and bolts of the business.

          But if we’re going to argue about protection of principles here, then the absolute transparency should have started last year with the first rescues of the financial industry. It’s damned hard to argue that GM must be held to higher standard when all it did was suffer a catastrophic collapse of sales because of the fucking banksters’ criminal behavior which remains unscrutinized and opaque.

          • bmaz says:

            Oh boy, you know I agree with you there. 100%. As to both the finance and auto segments. I am extra uppity right now though because, as someone in the business, the degradation of due process in courts of law strikes me particularly hard, and it is one of the things I am very pricky about. If it truly had to be that way, I would still hate it; but I would understand better. It did not have to be this way, that is what gripes me.

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