Watchdog Group: Chrysler's Fire Sale Funded On the Backs of Cash-Strapped TaxpayersFor Immediate Release November 24, 2009Pete Sepp
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This week, Chrysler Group LLC announced a series of incentive programs designed to improve the struggling auto company's lagging sales figures. NTU Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp offered the following statement about the program:
Just two weeks ago, Chrysler's Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne told reporters that he wanted to reduce the automaker's reliance on discount programs. As we have come to expect from the company, that was obviously just talk. Chrysler's new incentive program will offer potential buyers 0 percent financing for 60 months or as much as $4,500 cash back on each purchase. This program is just another example of the American taxpayer being taken for a ride.
While Chrysler is presenting their program as an incentive-driven attempt to connect with consumers, taxpayers had no vote when it came to bailing out Chrysler. Now, they must stand by helplessly as the company tries desperately to push its cars out of the showrooms. The American people were told that bailout funds were meant for saving jobs and generating innovation, not to temporarily bolster struggling sales figures.
What will happen to Chrysler when its bailout funds dry up? Unfortunately we have all seen this horror film before. Sure Chrysler may experience a small increase in sales, but soon enough its managers will likely be in the exact same situation they were in a year ago, having to cut jobs while lacking the funds to develop new innovative lines. Before you know it, they will have to come back to Congress to ask for another bailout, and this cycle will begin again.
If Chrysler's shareholders believe that gimmicky sales incentives are in their best interests, so be it, but American taxpayers were never asked. Having already unwillingly 'invested' in a failed company, they at least deserve to see Chrysler's plan for long-term solutions to the company's problems -- an exit strategy that will get them off the hook for current and future bailouts.
NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, accountability from public officials, and economic freedom at all levels. In 2008 and 2009, the group actively opposed both the automaker bailout by mobilizing its members in email alerts, conducting talk radio interviews, issuing vote alerts to lawmakers, and lobbying Congressional staff face-to-face. Note: Recently the group released a study on the costs of the bailout by Professor Thomas D. Hopkins entitled, The Auto Bailout – A Taxpayer Quagmire. For further information, visit www.ntu.org.