Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Jul 10, 2009

The new GM was born today, and at a press conference (live-blogged at NPR), CEO Fritz Henderson said the company’s priorities will be customers, cars and culture:

“We are very appreciative of the support provided by the stakeholders through the transformation process. Though General Motors Company will not initially be publicly traded, we will be transparent in our financial and other reporting to further strengthen trust and confidence,” said Henderson. “We expect to take the company public again as soon as practical, starting next year, and to repay our government loans as soon as possible. We are required to pay off the loans by 2015, but our goal is to repay them much sooner.”

Meanwhile, CNN has an interesting story about the different car company approaches to electric vehicles. Nissan’s going for it with an all-electric car. Ford is diversifying, trying out all-electric, hybrids and other models, without committing to one strategy. GM is staying away from all-electric and going for mass appeal:

GM’s approach is the right one, said Pochiluk. Consumers will need the security of that extended gasoline-powered range before large numbers will invest in an electrically driven vehicle, he said. The biggest risk for GM is that it has so much riding on this one car.

“Every part of this vehicle has to be perfect,” he said, “or the whole world is going to dump on it.”

Elsewhere, Robert Reich says we should stop thinking about an economic recovery. It ain’t gonna happen:

My prediction, then? Not a V, not a U. But an X. This economy can’t get back on track because the track we were on for years — featuring flat or declining median wages, mounting consumer debt, and widening insecurity, not to mention increasing carbon in the atmosphere — simply cannot be sustained.

The X marks a brand new track — a new economy. What will it look like? Nobody knows. All we know is the current economy can’t “recover” because it can’t go back to where it was before the crash. So instead of asking when the recovery will start, we should be asking when and how the new economy will begin.

That Matt Taibbi Rolling Stone article about Goldman Sachs’ ties with the government looks even more damning this week. Just consider the case, [as Marketplace reported Monday],() of these stolen mathematical formulas. Bloomberg does a great job of explaining it with perfect skepticism here:

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.