Irrelevant Auto News: GM, Ford Copy Apple and Don't Pay Taxes

By Joel Arellano | May 04, 2012
Its election year time. How can you tell? We normally credible and focused sites start spewing off on popular and topically subjects that only tangentially relate to their product. Take our site, for example. You probably came here to shop for your next car, getting details on particular makes, models, our opinions on them, and—of course—pricing. Instead, here's a post on "big bad" corporation General Motors and how it avoided paying income tax. We know. You're wondering how exactly does GM making$1billion in profit for the first three months this year help you chose which sedan is best for your family. Or the fact that Chrysler, as a limited liability partner, doesn't pay any federal income taxes. You're more concerned about the LATCH features on that Camry you've been eying. And how exactly does Ford's $30 billion loss from 2006-2008 really affect your prospects for a car loan? Not very much, does it? But it's timely! Topical! It's election season, and the political parties are digging skeletons out of their opponents' closet, drawers, and even a few trunks to show how awful they are while, conversely, they're the better party to vote for. Well, politicians and pundits are reminding folks that the federal government loaned money to GM (and, for that matter, Chrysler) to save them from bankruptcy a scant few years back. GM is using its pre-bankruptcy losses to offset its profits which resulted in no federal tax payments to Uncle Sam. Think GM's avoided "paying" you back, the taxpayer? Guess what? This is standard American corporate policy, which has been around since 1986. The government implemented the law to halt corporate raiders taking advantage of tax losses accrued by corporations. Says U.S. Treasury acting assistant secretary Emily McMahon, "Allowing these companies to keep their (tax losses) made them stronger businesses, helped attract private capital and further stabilized the overall financial system." Note that Ford Motor Co., the domestic automaker that didn't receive a government "bailout," and suffered the above $30 billion loss, also did not pay any federal income taxes.'s take: If politics plays a role for you in choosing your next Chevrolet versus Ford (or Chrysler), well, that's what that deal is all about. Politics. GM as a whipping boy to garner your votes (or anger). So if you weren't going to buy a GM product because you didn't like the bailout, well, then news like this will make you even more adamantly not do something you weren't going to do anyhow. Or something. Source: Detroit News