Editorial comment ///

Automotive bailout. I assume you’ve heard, wherever you are in the world, that US automakers are asking for (originally $35 billion) loans from the government. One of the terms of the loans is that executives’ compensation be “severely limited.” Not surprisingly, enthusiasm for the loans has dampened. Ford subsequently revealed that it had secured a $23.4 billion line of credit in 2006, so at most, it might need another $9 billion later in 2009, if then. GM and Chrysler still have their hand out. But Chrysler has a “sugar daddy” - its owners. Chrysler is owned by the private firm Cerberus, which, with about 100 co-investors, bought 80.1% of Chrysler for $7.4 billion last year from the German carmaker Daimler. Cerberus reportedly only has about $2 billion actually invested in Chrysler, but it has billions that it could extend to Chrysler, or at least put up as collateral for loans. Why should it though, if it can get US taxpayers to do it instead? Chrysler wants $7 billion from the government.

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