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Lutz Lashes Out at Volt Critics

by on Feb.01, 2012

USMC Captain Bob Lutz (ret.) climbs back into the cockpit to defend the Chevrolet Volt.

Former Marine pilot Bob Lutz has strafed some of the best-known conservative pundits for their criticism of the Chevrolet Volt, including radio host Rush Limbaugh and Fox New commentator Bill O’Reilly – the latter deserving what Lutz called “the Oscar for totally irresponsible journalism.”

The ever-outspoken Lutz, a former General Motors Vice Chairman, broke silence in the wake of last week’s hearings stemming from several fires that followed federal crash tests of the Volt and its battery pack.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration briefly opened and then quickly closed an investigation into the plug-in hybrid after General Motors identified the likely source of the problem and announced steps to reduce the likelihood of fires.

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But lawmakers used the January 25th hearing as a political set piece to raise questions about the 2009 federal bailout of General Motors and alleged improprieties by the administration’s top auto safety executive. Though those themes gained little traction during the hearings the Volt has become a popular whipping boy among conservative pundits like Limbaugh and O’Reilly, the latter making it sound like the battery cars routinely catch fire during a segment with TV pundit Lou Dobbs.

“That simply isn’t the case,” said Lutz, in a column for Forbes.  In a subsequent interview with the Detroit Free Press, he lamented the lack of “ethics” and “fairness” the conservative commentators demonstrated.


Limbaugh Carrier Airs GM Loan Repayment Ad

Right wing talk radio station reveals news ahead of announcement in taxpayer paid spot.

by on Apr.19, 2010

Taxpayers to get some greenbacks back.

A New York radio station airing the Rush Limbaugh show this morning aired a commercial from General Motors Company announcing that it had made another payment to the U.S. government for taxpayer loans, which allowed it to emerge from bankruptcy last summer.

Limbaugh and other critics on the right widely derided the taxpayer bailout as creating an unwelcome “Government Motors.”

Moreover, right wing groups are boycotting GM products, but right wing oriented businesses are apparently accepting taxpayer money.

Polls before, during and after GM bankruptcy reorganization also show a majority of Americans as opposing the idea of government intervention in both the automotive and financial sectors.

Click on chart to enlarge.

GM had previously said it wished to pay another some more of $4.7 billion owed to the U.S. government ahead of time, possibly as early as June. Two billion dollars have already been returned. (About $C1.1 billion will also be repaid to Canadian and Ontario governments.)

GM Chairman and Chief Executive Edward Whitacre Jr. was to make the announcement this Wednesday at a media event in Kansas City where the Chevrolet Malibu is assembled.

Under the loan terms, GM has until 2015 to repay the cash part of the loan, but the automaker is pulling ahead its payments in the absence of any pre-payment penalties in an attempt to silence critics of its bailout.

Overall, this return of $6.7 billion is only a small portion of the actual amount due to taxpayers, who are on the hook for roughly $50 billion. For the balance, taxpayers own a 61% stake in the privately held company, and a successful public offering or IPO remains crucial to the government getting its money back. Multiple studies have said that taxpayers will never recover what was invested. See Taxpayers Will Take Big Losses on Auto Bailouts