As it kills the planet and renders American society ever more unprepared for the increasingly inhospitable future it is doing so much to worsen, that epic, world-historic boondoggle, cars-first transportation, remains utterly undiscussed and undebatable in our mainstream institutions. Witness the recent spat between Killary Klinton and Bernie Sanders:
“He voted against the money that ended up saving the auto industry,” Clinton said.
No, I didn’t he insists, saying “In terms of the auto bailout, of course, that made sense.”
Nero had nothing on our leaders. Nothing whatsoever.
Like the rest of their class, the automobile manufacturers are hoarding cash. Automotive News for October 10 cites a new study by IHS Automotive:
Car companies are holding a quarter-trillion dollars in cash and equivalents, says Charles Chesbrough, senior principal economist at the industry consultancy. And the overall cash-to-revenue ratio is a healthy 19.3 percent, insulating from them a financial crisis.
Leading the pack is Toyota Motor Corp., which is sitting on $42.2 billion, according to Chesbrough’s calculations. Volkswagen AG is a close second with $35.9 billion on the books.
And what of the bail-out recipients, the businesses that won’t be repaying the full amount of the free loans and purchases of radioactive stock they received from Bush and Zerobama?
GM, which went through a quick-rinse bankruptcy during the global financial meltdown, has $32.8 billion.
Chrysler’s cash holdings were rolled into Fiat’s for a total of $27 billion. And in a sign of their strength, Fiat leads the industry with the highest cash-to-revenue ratio, at 36.2 percent.
Not as a way of restoring the corporate capitalist economy, of course, but as a way of restoring corporate profits.
According to Automotive News, the latest overclass constituency to confirm that its conventional flows of surplus wealth have been brought back online is the nation’s largest used-car sales overlord, CarMax:
CarMax Inc., the nation’s largest used-vehicle dealer group, said today it posted solid revenue and profit growth in its most recent quarter amid continued strong demand for used cars. Net income grew to $107.9 million for the quarter ended Aug. 31, up 5 percent from the same quarter last year. Revenue jumped 13 percent to $2.34 billion.
CarMax shares jumped nearly 7 percent in morning trading, to $25.75, near its 52-week high of $26.50.
And, of course, a government bailout program provided the catalyst:
Even though the cash-for-clunkers program didn’t apply to used vehicles, Carmax said it increased traffic at its stores.
The average selling price for used vehicles was $18,084 for the quarter, up 5 percent from $17,185 during the same quarter last year.
Its finance arm, CarMax Auto Finance, reported income of $52.6 million compared with a $72.1 million profit in the same period last year. The year-ago period’s income was boosted by $36.2 million in one-time items.
Never let it be said that this country doesn’t take care of its used car corporations!