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With $33.6 Billion Cash, If GM Can’t Tell the Truth They Can Give Us Our Money Back

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Over the weekend General Motors fought back against critics who have been all over the company after published reports say that the government-subsidized car company is spending as much as $90,000 to produce the “breakthrough” electric car, the Chevy Volt. The Volt retails for only $40,000.

Although the company refused to release figures regarding Volt production costs, UPI quotes the company as saying that critics have "allocated product development costs across the number of Volts sold instead of allocating across the lifetime of the program, which is how business operates."

The UPI whines that the Volt has become a “political football.”

Well, yeah, duh.

That’s what happens when a company gets cash, credit and other consideration from U.S. taxpayers to stay in business, most of which will never be repaid to U.S. taxpayers.

Suddenly things become very political for a private company when the government gives them more money than any other private concern in the history of our country and that money essentially becomes a gift.    

See more top stories from Townhall Finance. New Homepage, more content. Be the best informed fiscal conservative.

That’s what happens when you stiff bond holders in bankruptcy to make the political decision to bailout the United Auto Workers’ pension plan with that gift and even still the pension plan remains underfunded by $25 billion.

Political? Yeah, you bet.

You want to get out of politics? Give us back our money, GM.

You have $33.6 billion of cash in the bank right now.   

Yes, we’ll take it. Give it back and we'll call it square.   

Or here’s an idea for General Motors: If you’re concerned about the truth regarding the Volt, then perhaps you might become a little more discriminating yourself.

Release the Volt’s facts and figures on production.

Oh, that’s right. You can’t.

Because when it comes to facts and figures, GM has been less than candid with American taxpayers. Their track record for the claims and promises they make are more that of a politician than that of a public company that’s required under the law to make truthful public statements.

If a publicly traded mortgage company- or say a bank- made the same types of claims General Motors has made, Rep Maxine Waters (D-Shakedown) would be holding out her tin cup demanding millions in reparations.             

If you want to talk political, then just ask General Motors about their recent press release that trumpeted the “record” number of Chevy Volts that they sold.

“GM spokesman Jim Cain said the company expects the Volt's August sales to top 2,500,” reports CNN in a article titled Volt monthly sales to hit record in August “the best month by far since its December 2010 launch. That would mark a 35% increase over July sales and more than a 700% jump from year ago results.”

Problem is that General Motors fails to acknowledge that while sales may have set a “record” in August, sales are still only about half of what the company promised investors at the start of the year.

In fact, things are going so well for the Chevy Volt that the company has shuttered production on the Volt line so that they can retool to make a car that GM is actually selling, the Chevy Impala.

"We are not idling the plant due to poor Volt sales. We're gearing up for production of the new Impala," Chevy spokesman David Darovitz said in an email to USAToday.

Yes; the poor Volt sales are just an added benefit of the decision to shutter production of the electric car.    

And this would not be the first time that General Motors idled production for the Volt this year. The company stopped production earlier this year as inventory levels piled up.

The Volt is hardly the shining success that GM’s press offensive would have you believe, nor is GM the model corporate citizen Obama/Biden would have you believe.

Because this isn't the first time that General Motors played fast and loose with the truth in order to play politics.

In 2010 General Motors ran ads claiming that they paid back the bailout money they took from the federal government, when all they did was repay the “loan” portion of the bailout with government money that was sitting in the bank.

“General Motors announced this week that it repaid its multibillion-dollar taxpayer-backed TARP loans,” wrote Republican Senator Charles Grassley on “GM even bragged that it was able to “repay the taxpayers in full, with interest, ahead of schedule, because more customers are buying [GM] vehicles.” There was great fanfare, including expensive, around-the-clock GM TV commercials nationwide. But, the hype is not the reality. In fact, GM did not repay the loans with money it earned from selling cars. Instead, GM repaid the TARP loans with money it withdrew from another TARP fund at the Treasury Department.”

As of today, taxpayers on the hook for at least a $25 billion loss. Here's a company that took $100 billion in new money since bankruptcy and turned it into $37 billlion in less than two years.

And you want the rest of us to believe that Obama wasn't involved? Ha! 

Still, GM sits with $33.6 billion of cash in the bank.

So, if they can’t start telling us the truth, they should at least give us back our money.

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