If there’s one provision in the GM/Chrysler bailout that I just don’t get, it’s the suggestion that the automakers must be financially viable by March 31st next year or they will have to repay the loans.
Unless I’m missing something, if you’re not financially viable, repaying $17.4 billion will be just a tad difficult. This will presumably force those automakers into Chapter 11, which is what the bailout was meant to avoid, at least partly to avoid the “ripple effect” that the much more responsible Ford is worried about. In these market conditions, it is hard to see any way that the companies can meet that condition without engaging in some sort of fire sale (which will in turn have ripple effects).
It therefore looks like, rather than some pre-packaged bankruptcy, the Bush administration has handed its successor a pre-packaged crisis. On April Fools’ Day, of all days, President Obama will be forced to extend the loans, provide more funds or otherwise cave to GM/Chrysler/UAW demands.
However you look at it, this is not responsible government. This bailout beggars belief.
(A further post will provide details of what sort of non-financial bailout could help).