The Spectacle Blog

Protectionist Alert — Sorta

Guv'mint Motors (as they pronounce it here in the South), which today is pretending along with the Feds that it is emerging from bankruptcy (if it really was, why does the government need to own 60 percent of it?), is now seeking permission from the court to break its contract with a U.S.-based precious metals mining company so it can instead purchase from foreign ones.

By on 7.10.09 | 12:36PM

Guv'mint Motors (as they pronounce it here in the South), which today is pretending along with the Feds that it is emerging from bankruptcy (if it really was, why does the government need to own 60 percent of it?), is now seeking permission from the court to break its contract with a U.S.-based precious metals mining company so it can instead purchase from foreign ones. The Billings Gazette sez:

After nine months of negotiations with General Motors Corp., Stillwater Mining Co. officials learned Wednesday the automaker had petitioned bankruptcy court to reject the existing contract between the two companies.

Should the court accept GM’s petition, Stillwater would be hit with a financial impact estimated between $5 million and $10 million.

Stillwater intends to file an objection to GM’s petition with the bankruptcy court but does not know when to expect a response....

“We certainly recognize that the current economic downturn has decimated the automotive industry, forcing GM and others to make some difficult choices,” (Stillwater Chairman Francis) McAllister said. “At the same time, it seems disingenuous to me, during a period when preserving American jobs is such a high domestic priority, that GM, while receiving immense financial support from the U.S. government, would elect, as I understand it, to continue its supply agreements with foreign palladium suppliers while seeking to terminate an agreement with the sole U.S. miner of palladium.”

McAllister said they have contacted Montana’s congressional delegation and will soon meet with employees and union representatives to discuss the urgency of the situation.

So many questions, so many conflicts, so many grey areas...Whose union jobs do you protect -- the mining company's or the autoworkers'? Do you find the best metals price to protect U.S. taxpayers/investors, or do you preserve the integrity of the existing contract? Free trade or protectionism?

I thought this takeover was supposed to make things easier.

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