Ford Motor Company was supposed to be the only major U.S. automaker not in need of a bailout, but this week Ford accepted a $5.9 billion loan subsidy under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). The EISA loan is designed to help the auto industry by supporting “capital investments in facilities designed to produce vehicles with greater fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.”
Many factors have enabled the United States to become the wealthiest nation on Earth: limited government, secure property rights, a free-market capitalist economic system, a relatively stable currency, and an abundance of available energy. One might note that all of these elements are increasingly under attack from politicians, but a successful assault on the access we have to the energy that powers our economy would devastate our country — even if we did everything else right.
Monday, June 1, was the end of an era for the American automotive industry. As nearly everyone not living in the jungles of Borneo knows by now, once-mighty General Motors, the flagship corporation of American automobile manufacturing and one of the most potent symbols worldwide of American industrial might, slid into Chapter 11 bankruptcy after the Great Recession dealt the long-foundering giant the coup de grace. In what is being billed as the fourth-largest bankruptcy in American history and the largest ever for an industrial manufacturer, GM claims $82.29 billion in assets against almost $173 billion in debt — this, be it duly noted, after billions in federal government bailout monies have been shoveled GM’s way.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) made public on April 8 several alternative plans under consideration for regulating the activities of short sellers. Short selling, the inverse of purchasing stock shares in the hope that share prices will rise, consists of borrowing shares, selling them, and then repurchasing them at a later date and returning them to their owner. Short selling is undertaken when a stock is expected to decline in value; a short seller who borrows a thousand dollars worth of stock, sells them, and then repurchases them and returns them to their owner when the stock's value has declined to $500, pockets a profit of $500.00.