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Steve Chiotakis: Auto executives from GM and Chrysler head to Congress later today. They’ll be testifying before the Senate Commerce Committee. The discussion will focus on the closing of hundreds, if not thousands, of dealerships across the country. Some lawmakers say that’ll put a lot of people out of work. And as far as the hearing itself — today’s session is, in a sense, these carmakers meeting their new owners. Here’s Marketplace’s Jeremy Hobson.
Jeremy Hobson: If and when GM and Chrysler emerge from bankruptcy, taxpayers will have a significant stake in both companies: 8 percent in Chrysler, 60 percent in GM.
John Graham chaired the Bush Administration’s task force on auto industry regulation. He says Congress now has a responsibility to oversee the industry’s rebirth.
John Graham: They must be involved, because they’re investing tens of billions of dollars of the taxpayers money.
But an overzealous Congress could be bad for Detroit and Washington in the long run, says William Holstein, author of “Why GM Matters.”
William Holstein: If in fact we want them to be profitable and to get off the government dole, then we can’t start layering on other sets of demands on them. The emphasis ought to be on letting private sector management manage them to become profitable as soon as possible.
Holstein says if Congress starts making decisions based on politics instead of what’s best to turn the companies around, you can kiss the automakers goodbye.
I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.
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