Good Jobs First is a worthy nonprofit whose mission is to ensure that democracy doesn’t die in darkness. The organization promotes corporate and government accountability in economic development and closely monitors how federal and state governments dole out the tax monies of U.S. residents. Since its founding in 1998, the organization claims to have revealed the numerous ways corporations, many of whom receive subsidies, violate civil and criminal regulations and laws.

Good Jobs First keeps a running tab on America’s biggest corporate moochers. Boeing has long topped the list, having slurped $15.5 billion from the public trough. I can assure you that Boeing has spent considerably more enriching its managements and shareholders funding stock buybacks and paying dividends, while outsourcing critical functions to foreign-owned companies. Although Boeing once represented America’s technology prowess, the company has become a national embarrassment, while CEO Dave Calhoun raked in more than $80 million driving the company into the ground these past four years, and as a director the previous ten.

Then there are the U.S. tax monies wasted on the Department of Justice to investigate Boeing and possibly hold the company accountable for a faulty plane model an employee said was “designed by clowns who are in turn supervised by monkeys.” More than 300 people died when two of the planes crashed, yet management has yet to face any criminal charges. My guess is they never will.

Source: Good Jobs First

The DOJ has bigger fish to fry, like Charlie Javice, a 31-year-old founder of a college financial aid company who allegedly outwitted the due diligence brains at JPMorgan Chase and exaggerated the number of her enterprise’s accounts when the bank purchased the business for $175 million. Americans will no doubt sleep better knowing Javice and her alleged ilk are behind bars and won’t be around to take advantage of Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase’s multi billionaire CEO, who received $36 million for his 2023 performance.

BTW: Dimon’s bank has received $1.7 billion in U.S. taxpayer subsidies, garnering the bank the No. 40 spot on Good Jobs’ moocher rankings.

Intel ranks No. 2 among America’s corporate moochers. I’m not sufficiently familiar with Intel’s operations, but CEO Pat Gelsinger is a piker when it comes to the executive compensation sweepstakes, having been paid only $16.9 million for his 2003 performance, just over half what Lisa Su made as CEO of rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. AMD doesn’t rank among America’s biggest corporate moochers, so at least U.S. taxpayers aren’t funding Su’s compensation.

Ford and GM respectively are America’s third and fourth biggest moochers, having each sponged off more than $7.5 billion from U.S. taxpayers. This doesn’t include the tax credits available to U.S. consumers on some of their EVs likely amounting to billions more. It seems reasonable to expect that the two automakers would feel an obligation to be at the forefront supporting U.S. businesses and workers, but that’s hardly the case.

Honda and Toyota are decidedly the most red, white, and blue. every year publishes its rankings of the most American-made vehicles. The rankings aren’t based solely on where a vehicle is manufactured, but incorporates other critical considerations such as parts content, engine and transmission origin, and U.S. manufacturing workforce. More than 400 vehicles from the 2024 model-year were analyzed to qualify for the top 100 list.

Honda and its luxury Acura brand captured nine of the top 20 spots, Toyota and its luxury Lexis division captured four, and Tesla had three. VW’s electric ID.4 was the third most American-made vehicle, while Amsterdam-based Stellantis’ Jeep and Dodge divisions each captured individual spots.

The number of Ford and GM vehicles that made the top 20?

Zero, nada, zilch.


Ford’s most American-made vehicle was its iconic Mustang, which ranked No. 31. It’s electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck, which on lower-priced trims is eligible for lucrative U.S. tax kickbacks, ranked 56 and the gas engine version ranked 58. Not the showing I’d expect from a company boasting on its website that it is “All In On America.”

Ford’s electric Mustang, which the automaker proudly manufactures in Mexico, didn’t make the list, nor did its Maverick pickup and Bronco Sport SUV, which the company also makes south of the border. The electric Mustang for a period was also eligible for lucrative tax breaks.

GM’s top ranked vehicles on the American-made vehicles list were its Colorado and Canyon pickup trucks, respectively ranking No. 23 and 24. None of GM’s electric vehicles made the list, despite CEO Mary Barra previously vowing to sell more EVs than Tesla by the end of next year.

Of course, there are other meaningful measures to determine the various loyalties of automakers to American businesses and workers, such as how they value their U.S. suppliers.

Automakers and their suppliers are America’s largest manufacturing sector, responsible for 3% of America’s GDP and among the largest investors in R&D. No other manufacturing sector generates as many American jobs, according to the American Automotive Policy Council, which promotes the interests of GM, Ford, and Stellantis in the Washington beltway.

Every year, the consulting arm of Michigan-based Plante Moran publishes a closely watched annual survey of leading automotive suppliers asking them about their relationships with six major North American automakers across eight purchasing areas. Toyota and Honda far and away are held in the highest regard among U.S. suppliers and have considerably improved their relationships over a ten-year period.

Meanwhile, Ford’s relationship with its suppliers has been declining under Ford CEO Jim Farley, which likely explains why the company’s safety recalls have substantially risen under his leadership. Farley, whose family lives in the UK, has been awarded about $70 million in compensation since being named CEO in August 2020.  

Plante Moran Graphic

Surely, given that Ford and GM are headquartered in the Detroit area they’d want to ensure that Americans are driving the safest cars, you say.

Sorry, that’s not the case.

Here’s a link to the 2024 safety rankings of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which promotes itself as “an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing deaths, injuries and property damage from motor vehicle crashes through research and evaluation and through education of consumers, policymakers and safety professionals.”  The list is overwhelmingly dominated by foreign automakers, with Hyundai, Toyota, and Honda being the industry leaders.

Ford’s four-door Explorer SUV was the automaker’s only vehicle to make the safety list. No GM vehicles made the safety list. Barra’s EV Hummer, which weighs more than 9,000 pounds, is easily the most dangerous vehicle on the road, particularly given that two reviewers warned the vehicle’s brakes were inadequate.

Harming the climate is one area where GM excels. According to the EPA’s 2023 annual report released in December, GM’s carbon emissions during the 2017-2022 period increased more than any automaker except Honda. The EPA blamed the shift on Barra’s increased focus on more profitable gas guzzling trucks and SUVs, which more than offset emission improvements in GM’s other vehicles.

By comparison, during the 2017-2022 period, Toyota’s carbon emissions decreased more than any other automaker, and the company’s overall fuel economy improved. What makes these results so remarkable is EPA says that Toyota during this period increased its share of the truck and SUV market to 38% from 27%.

GM is well represented on the list the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), an organization whose mandate is to “reduce energy waste and combat climate change,” considers the most environmentally harmful vehicles.

The most environmentally friendly vehicles? That list is dominated entirely by foreign automakers, with Toyota leading the charge.

Donald Trump was in Detroit last week posturing himself as the fairy godmother of the U.S. automotive industry.

“We’re going to bring back your auto industry at a level greater than it was 30 years ago,” Trump vowed, without offering a single initiative on how he would achieve that goal other than imposing hefty tariffs that some economists warn would significantly drive up costs for most consumers.

Even before assuming office, Trump took credit for Ford’s decision to cancel a planned $1.6 billion factory in Mexico, after publicly deriding the move as “an absolute disgrace” and vowing to impose hefty tariffs on vehicles that Ford imported for sale in the U.S. Although Ford insisted the decision was driven by the sagging demand for small cars, the company also heaped considerable praise on Trump.

“This is a vote of confidence for President-Elect Trump and some of the policies he may be pursuing,” then Ford CEO Mark Fields said when he cancelled the Mexican plant.

When Trump was in office, GM in 2017 announced with great fanfare that it would invest $1 billion in its U.S. manufacturing operations, as well as add another 5,000 jobs “over the next few years” in finance and advanced technology. As well, the company said around 450 jobs would be returned to the U.S. as GM transferred back production of axles from a plant in Mexico.

GM vehemently denied that its initiatives had anything to do with Trump.

“As the U.S. manufacturing base increases its competitiveness, we are able to further increase our investment, resulting in more jobs for America and better results for our owners,” Barra said.. “The U.S. is our home market and we are committed to growth that is good for our employees, dealers, and suppliers and supports our continued effort to drive shareholder value.”

In 2021, when Biden was in office, GM announced it would invest $1 billion to electrify one of its Mexican plants, a move the UAW called “a slap in the face.” GM builds its Equinox and Blazer EVs in Mexico and plans to build its compact sized Cadillac Optiq there as well.

Politico reported that Biden and Barra are close, with GM’s chief having visited the president at the White House at least eight times. Trump so far has declined to say if he’d impose prohibitive tariffs on the GM’s and Ford’s Mexican-made vehicles if he’s reelected.

Correction: In a recent blog post I said the Detroit publications had yet to report that GM would build the Cadillac Optiq in Mexico. In fact, Kalea Hall of the Detroit News included the detail in this May 29, 2024 story, as did CNBC’s Michael Wayland in this story on the same day.

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