Tuesday, March 31, 2009


March 30, 2009 WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), a member of the Senate Banking Committee and lead Republican during Senate negotiations of legislation to aid the domestic auto industry in December, made the following comments today in reaction to President Obama’s announcement on the auto industry.

“Firing Rick Wagoner is a sideshow to distract us from the fact that the administration has no progress to announce today,” said Corker. “The administration is hoping the media and the public will stay focused on Wagoner and fail to notice that negotiations have not progressed since December.

“The administration is pursuing much of what we pushed for in December, but the delay of several months has increased the severity and sent billions of taxpayer dollars down the drain. Now any investment is likely unrecoverable and we are putting more and more jobs at the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and the supply chain at risk in a politically charged environment.

“With sweeping new power the White House will be deciding which plants will survive and which won't, so in essence, this administration has decided they know better than our courts and our free market process how to deal with these companies.

“It’s been a long time since Washington has seen the kind of kowtowing that’s about to occur among members of Congress trying to curry favor with the administration to keep plants in their states open, and it will be interesting to see if the administration makes these decisions based on a red state and blue state strategy or based on efficiency and capable, skilled workers at each plant. If they use the latter, our GM plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee should do very well.

“This is a major power grab by the White House on the heels of another power grab from Secretary Geithner who asked last week for the freedom to decide on his own which companies are ‘systemically’ important to our country and worthy of taxpayer investment and which are not.

“This is a marked departure from the past, truly breathtaking, and should send a chill through all Americans who believe in free enterprise. I worry that in one fell swoop we’ve lost our moral high ground throughout the global community as it relates to chastising other countries that use strong arm tactics to invade on private property rights.”

This is an excellent analysis from Corkers office. I have little to add. If you look at the politicalization and the difficulty encountered when trying to close obsolete military bases, you are probably looking at the future of the management of auto production. One major difference however is that Congress has a roll to play in closing of military bases; managing GM will be in the hands of the White House Auto Task Force. The CEO answers to this task force. Do we really want the President deciding which auto plants stay open and which ones close? Do we want the President picking winners and losers? This is a frighting transfer of power from the private sector to the President of the United States. Is this the kind of change people were voting for when they elected Obama? This is unbelievable!

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