Last week I was watching one of the 15 versions of Law& Order that currently air on NBC, when I saw a commercial trumpeting theanticipated resurrection of General Motors.

The ad, which was so slanted toward the company'sexpected Phoenix-like rise from the bailout ashes, I was rathersurprised that the UAW or the Obamaadministration wasn't listed in the writing and production credits.

"The only chapter for us is chapter one," wentsome of the dialogue.

I'm somewhat less optimistic. But experience with theirproducts since the 1970s, long before the company went on the taxpayer dole,has been a good teacher.

I once owned a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, whose headlightssimply fell out of the sockets after just two months. Pontiacs - including mine- predictably blew out their timing chains between 50,000 and 60,000 miles. Andthe motorized roof on our convertible Cadillac DeVille often behaved in themanner of an Abbott and Costello routine.

But now that the company will be 60 percent owned by thetaxpayer (read: we foot the bill, but the White House and their support groupsrun the company), somehow I doubt that the $50 billon that has already beenearmarked for the company's recovery will end there.

Just call me a pessimist.

I simply can't see how, under this current structure, thecompany can even hope to return to profitability instead of wallowing like ataxpayer-funded hulk. And trust me, it's going to continue to exist only thougha nationwide intravenous tube of ongoing bailout monies.

Couple that with the cap-and-trade tax legislation thatseems destined to pass through Congress, and you can bet that will drasticallycurtail auto manufacturers producing anything larger or more stylish than aYugo. If only for fear of amassing costly environmental penalties.

Don't be too surprised either if gas prices start spikingto levels previously reserved for a carton of cigarettes.

Lately I've read various opinion columns where thoseopposing bailouts of GM and Chrysler fear that American consumers (whotechnically own the majority of GM) will flock across the border to Mexico orCanada to purchase larger vehicles in lieu of the formless and compactedhybrids that promise to emerge under this current set-up.

I don't know if it would necessarily go that far but I doenvision quantum changes over the next couple of years and not many of themgood.

And of course, guess who gets to pick up the check?

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