General Motors joins the Post Office and Amtrak as businesses run by the government. The Federal Government owns 70% of this corporation with the Union of Auto Workers holding 17.5%. There is little likelihood that GM will ever return as a private sector corporation. Tax payers will be covering its losses from now on.

The histories of the Postal Service and Amtrak indicate the possible future of General Motors under the Federal aegis.

In 1775, Benjamin Franklin, a Founder of this nation, was appointed the first Postmaster. The postage for domestic letters cost two cents from 1885 until 1932. Thereafter, the cost of stamps increased one cent at 26, 15, 5, and 3 year intervals. Thereafter, the interval between raising the stamp price shortened as the amounts of the increase accelerated. In 1950, mail service was reduced to one delivery a day to reduce losses. The prices of postage stamps went from $.34 in 2001 to $.44 in 2009, a 29% increase. Though, the budget of the Post Office has increased annually ($69 billion in 2006), there is usually a loss at the end of the year. This year, 2009, the Postal Service will lose $6 billion with a cash short fall of $1.5 billion according to the Postal Workers Union. There is talk of reducing deliveries by one day each week to reduce losses, continuing the reduction and the increasing in the cost of the mail service.

The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, known as Amtrak, was founded May 1, 1971. It has suffered losses every year since its inception. On February 28, 2007, David Tornquist, Assistant Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation gave an analysis of Amtrak. This is part of that report: “Amtrak Requires More in Capital and Less in Operating Subsidy in FY 2008. Based on the information available today, Amtrak would need $465 million available to it in FY 2008 for cash operating losses, $600 million for capital spending, and $285 million for debt service to operate a nationwide system while maintaining modest progress towards achieving a state of good repair.” This report could be given every year by merely changing the figures.
Can we expect General Motors to thrive based upon the record of the Federal Government’s handling of the Post Office and Amtrak? Already, Congress and the UAW are trying to micromanage this auto manufacturer by dictating which plants can be closed, where cars will be built, as well as preventing the dropping of unprofitable dealerships. American taxpayers will be paying for the losses of this corporation for many years to come.
Remember these calamities and vote against the incumbents in the next election to return some sanity to our government.
Art Woodrow

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