Bad news doesn't always travel fast.
In addition to bad news not always traveling fast, we should add honesty, which seems to trail even further behind. We are in the midst of both ends of this conundrum this week. On the one hand, the White House gloated about signing up 7.1 million people to healthcare plans, but in the same breath, the White House said they do not monitor how many people have actually paid. It is even tougher trying to get an honest reply of the number of Americans that did not have healthcare before the law passed, who are now blessed to be covered.In addition to bad news not always traveling fast, we should add honesty, which seems to trail even further behind. We are in the midst of both ends of this conundrum this week. On the one hand, the White House gloated about signing up 7.1 million people to healthcare plans, but in the same breath, the White House said they do not monitor how many people have actually paid. It is even tougher trying to get an honest reply of the number of Americans that did not have healthcare before the law passed, who are now blessed to be covered.
Premium hikes, large deductibles, and fewer options are the kinds of boondoggles that slowly erode the base and retard any good points of the law, which is still roundly rejected in opinion polls. Remarkably, we watch mounting disasters like the healthcare law, the mountain of government debt, and the Fed balance sheet that is like an economic Yucca mountain, because they move so slowly. The risks are clear, but the hammer is not coming down tomorrow. (I have always thought it a mistake for conservatives to talk about America collapsing tomorrow as if we are Greece. The Greek turmoil should serve as a cautionary tale; it took thirty years of socialism before they slipped into the Mediterranean, only to be bailout twice.)
On that note, I think there is time to reverse or mitigate the worst damage, although if current ideology continues to 2020, we will probably hit the point of no return, or the ultimate hard landing.
If America, as a people, suspends disbelief long enough to become a lumbering giant, incapable of returning to greatness then that is our (collective) fault. There is a difference between that and woeful indifference, however. Moreover, there is also a difference between all these things and criminal neglect.
That is the situation General Motors and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration find themselves in. Yesterday, it was Mary Barra's turn to face the music.
Right out of the gate, Barra replied "yes" when asked if the company knowingly used parts that did not meet their own specifications. Making matters worse, it was revealed that a replacement switch to fix the problem would cost $0.57, but it was deemed too expensive (management called it an 'unacceptable cost increase'). There are so many layers of deceit with this story; first selling the Cobalt and Ions that were subpar to begin with, to avoiding scandal, to only helping those people who complained about problems. As well as having a redesigned part that inexplicably was never assigned a parts number.
After eight years of quietly sweeping it under the rug, GM recalled millions of vehicles.
It is too late for the 13 victims and their families.
Furthermore, it is not too late to find the underlying cause of this whole fiasco. GM hired Ken Feinberg, who put together compensation plans for families of 9-11 victims and the BP oil spill. While there is a legal loophole that allows the "new" GM to avoid large fines and costly legal settlements, there is no doubt that victims of this man-made tragedy will walk away with lots of money. The civil part is not what interests me as much as finding out the truth.
GM engineers checked-off on the car, and management pushed the car and the flimsy fixes through 133 warranty claims, and somehow looked the other way for more than a decade. This is more egregious that the BP disaster, but may never get that kind of treatment. Yet I wonder as the public learns more, if even the PR machine that's working overtime trying to convince the world that the healthcare law is great, would be able to cover this up. There are important questions and considerations here.
Where was the National Highway Transportation System Administration? Was the problem swept under the rug, because the government was in the midst of an unpopular and expensive bailout? Why did the government take a loss on GM stock when it was clear the overall demand was returning to the space and the stock, which had a greater chance of moving higher? Would anyone be surprised government officials knew, but looked the other way while it bailed out unions through a bankruptcy riddled with controversy?
Finally, it is remarkable that Americans are being told to forgo money, power, and its place in the world, to head off a one-degree change in the temperature over the next one hundred years. There are so many issues involving our very own government that cannot honestly be addressed today.