Tighten the Leash

Our new Wizards of Wall Street Washington can’t even manage a lousy $5 billion in bailout money:

After General Motors Corp. approved his company for the program, the CEO spent weeks trying to obtain guarantees on his receivables, including three weeks of due diligence with his lender and others.

“But Citibank does not return phone calls or e-mails,” he said.

The program allows suppliers designated by GM or Chrysler L.L.C. to get paid early for their parts shipments or to use government guarantees of payment to borrow from their private lenders. The cash outlays are administered by Citibank, but GM and Chrysler decide which of their suppliers can participate.

Another CEO, who runs a Detroit-area trim supplier, faced similar problems. GM and Chrysler “say we are on the list of suppliers qualified for aid,” he said. But he has yet to hear from Citibank, which he said is overwhelmed by supplier demand.

Calls by Crain’s sister publication Automotive News seeking comment from Citibank were not returned.


And where is the oversight Congress should be supplying? Where is the President and his bully prompter? Er, bully pulpit?

So I have a better idea. Since this five billion was some of the first bailout/stimulus/payout money to go out the door, let’s establish a new rule. No more new spending by Washington until they can prove that the initial spending did what it was intended to do.


Then: Bad government, no cookie.


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