RUSH: Holman Jenkins, Jr. in the Wall Street Journal today: ‘GM Is Becoming a Royal Debacle.’ I’m just going to read his own words to you here: ‘It’s good to be the king — until you start tripping over your own robe. So King Barack the Mild is finding as he tries to dictate the terms of what amounts to an out-of-court bankruptcy for Chrysler and GM. He wants Chrysler’s secured lenders to give up their right to nearly full recovery in a bankruptcy in return for 15 cents on the dollar. They’d be crazy to do so, of course, except that these banks also happen to be beholden to the administration for TARP money. Wasn’t TARP supposed to be about restoring a healthy banking system? Isn’t that a tad inconsistent with banks just voluntarily relinquishing valuable claims on borrowers? Don’t ask. Kingly prerogative also conflicts with kingly prerogative in the case of GM’s unsecured creditors, who are the sticking point in agreeing to a turnaround plan by the drop-dead date of June 1.’
By the way, GM announced today that they can’t make their debt payment. They have $28 billion in debt and they want to exchange it for equity. General Motors wants to exchange some of their debt to the government for equity like the government is going to do to banks. So you’re going to have King Barack the Mild owning the car company — exactly as we forecast with his car czar, Steve Rattner, who has got himself involved in his own little scandal in New York State involving the former comptroller there, Alan Hevesi. The thing that Rattner’s involved in, he basically paid somebody a bunch of money to manage pension funds that had no idea how to do it. It’s either he’s got an IQ of 80 or he’s engaged in fraud. Since it’s Democrats we’ll probably never know what the truth is. I doubt we’ll investigate this to the extent it is warranted.
But nevertheless, one problem here, according to Mr. Jenkins: ‘Why on earth would GM’s creditors — who include not just bondholders but the UAW’s health-care trust — want any part of this deal? They’ve already seen that the rights and privileges of shareholders are not worth diddly when the king is throwing his prerogatives around. He dispensed with the services of GM chief Rick Wagoner, though the king owned not a single share of GM stock at the time. His minions communicated the king’s pleasure that GM consider discontinuing its GMC brand, maker of pickups and SUVs that offendeth the royal eye — though these vehicles earn GM’s fattest profit margins.’ Do you remember that? We mentioned this. Obama told ’em to get rid of the GMC line, get rid of it. He’s never made a car in his life! He doesn’t even have a share of stock yet. Obama’s ‘minions haven’t asked GM to give up the Chevy Volt, even after determining it will be a profitless black hole, because of the king’s fondness for green. No wonder the king’s mediation of 40 years of stalemated labor and business issues in the auto sector isn’t going so well.
‘King Barack could take a leaf from St. Jimmy the Simple, who faced a collapse of the railroad industry. He signed the Staggers deregulation law, returning power to the industry itself to decide what services to provide and which customers to chase. What had previously been an industrial basket case, halfway nationalized already, fixed itself almost overnight. He might consult with the Sage of Omaha, who has become a fan of the rail business. What would make Sir Warren similarly enthused about investing in GM? The answer, we’re guessing, is not more cars like the Chevy Volt. The banks get all the attention, but they have the power to earn their way out of trouble. Not GM, the way things are going. St. Warren could do the king a real service by warning him off a path with Detroit that could end up blighting all the years of his reign.’ So GM, it’s panning out just exactly as everybody suspected, nationalization of banks, nationalization of the automobile industry by a man who hasn’t the slightest idea what he is doing. Just incredible.