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Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street: Nov. 14

GM's Telethon

Hey Congress, do we have a car deal for you!

General Motors (GM - Get Report) asked its U.S. dealers on Wednesday to call their representatives and senators to beg them to approve an additional loan package to help the struggling automaker, according to Reuters.

GM U.S. sales chief Mark LaNeve told dealers to smile and dial, saying 3 million jobs will be wiped out if the government doesn't deliver the necessary funding. Shares of the country's largest automaker sank as low as $2.75 this week.

"As we're in the midst of the deepest crisis our industry has ever faced, GM's priority is on seeking support from various U.S. government agencies and congressional leaders," LaNeve wrote in a letter to dealers.

That's funny. We thought GM's top priority should be selling cars people want to buy.

Chief executives of GM, Ford (F) and Chrysler skipped the phone calls in favor of face-to-face meetings with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority leader Harry Reid last week to discuss a $50 billion aid package. The executives requested half that sum be delivered immediately as "emergency capital," with the second $25 billion going to a retiree health care trust fund.

Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.) said on Wednesday his committee will host a hearing to consider an auto-industry bailout next week.

That is, if he can avoid thousands of phone pitches from all those dealers trying to sell him last year's model.

Dumb-o-meter score: 70 -- Looks like U.S. taxpayers are going to buy a lemon of a bailout deal.
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