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What's Good for General Motors is Not Necessarily Good for America

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Joel Joseph     Permalink
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1953 Buick Skylark
1953 Buick Skylark
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Image by wikipedia)   Permission   Details   DMCA

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General Motors has a very short memory. And no loyalty. In 2009, GM received a massive and generous bailout of $49.5 billion from U.S. taxpayers. The U.S. government, and the U.S. taxpayers, lost $11.2 billion on its investment in General Motors. The government sold its stock in GM for $38.3 billion in December of 2013.


In 1953, President Eisenhower nominated GM's CEO, Charles Wilson, to be Secretary of Defense. During his confirmation hearing, Wilson said, "I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa." Sadly, while this was true in 1953, it is no longer true.

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Buick now makes four of the seven models sold in the U.S. overseas: one in China, one in Poland, one in Canada and one in South Korea. Neither China, nor Poland, nor South Korea helped to save GM, but their economies are the beneficiaries of the "new" General Motors. To be fair, I must admit that the government of Canada (and the province of Ontario) invested $13 billion to help save GM, a small fraction of the tab paid for by U.S. taxpayers. Canada lost about $3 billion as a result of its investment.


Canada may deserve to have one Buick model made in Ontario. Based on this math, the United States deserves to have at least four Buick models made domestically. The U.S. invested four times as much as Canada and should get four times the result. Instead, we got shafted.


The new General Motors was created to save jobs in the United States. The U.S. government appointed a "car czar" (first Steven Rattner, currently Ron Bloom) and controlled the majority of the GM board of directors. However, none of these officials did anything to ensure the long-term creation of jobs here in the United States.

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GM will begin selling its made in China "Buick Envision" in the United States this year. This Envision model is a compact crossover produced at a plant in the Yantai, Shandong province. This will be the first, and hopefully the last, car to be imported from China.


Buick sells the Encore subcompact crossover, imported from Bupyeong, South Korea, at its American dealerships. The Buick Regal was manufactured in Russelsheim, Germany from 2009 to 2011, and then moved to Oshawa, Ontario, Canada where it is now made.

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Chairman, Made in the USA Foundation, economist and lawyer, author of ten books and hundreds of articles.

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