Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Different Approach To Making America Work: Cars


Today Republicans are angry that Obama didn't fail & that the auto bailout worked

There was a lot of celebrating in Detroit yesterday-- not to mention at the White House-- when it was announced that Chrysler had repaid, with interest, the $5.9 billion loan it got from the U.S. Treasury to keep afloat. “The loans gave us a rare second chance to demonstrate what the people of this company can deliver,” Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said. “We owe a debt of gratitude to those whose intervention allowed Chrysler Group to re-establish itself as a strong and viable carmaker.” That would be President Obama + 205 Democrats and 32 House Republicans. The Auto Industry Financing And Restructuring Act passed 237-170 on the evening of December 10, 2008. Led by Boehner and Cantor, 150 Republicans (+ 20 sleazy Blue Dogs, most of whom were defeated in the next election) voted against rescuing the auto industry. Don't they look foolish today?

The total Chrysler returned to the Treasury, including interest and other loans, was $10.6 billion-- which represents a full recovery of all the money the Obama Administration put towards rescuing the company and saving all the jobs, ancillary businesses and communities involved-- six years ahead of schedule. And this comes just a few weeks after GM’s announcement of a $2 billion expansion, which will result in the creation or retention of 4,000 jobs spread across 17 facilities in eight states. We’re starting to see second shifts and stronger sales all across the country. In Michigan, as well as in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Missouri, since GM and Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy, the auto industry has added 115,000 jobs-- the fastest pace of job growth in the auto industry since the 1990s. This is what President Obama said just about one year ago (April 30, 2009):
"Chrysler has not only been an icon of America's auto industry and a source of pride for generations of American workers; it's been responsible for helping build our middle class, giving countless Americans the chance to provide for their families, sending their kids to college, saving for a secure retirement. It's what hundreds of thousands of autoworkers and suppliers and dealers and their families rely on to pay their bills in communities across our industrial Midwest and across our country."

That didn't appeal to Republicans and notorious vulture-capitalist Mitt Romney led the way with a horrific editorial in the NY Times just before the House vote: Let Detroit Go Bankrupt. Americans today can see how wrong he was in 2008 when he wrote that "If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed." Because Romney's nasty and predictable anti-worker message was widely ignored, the auto industry is getting back on its feet today and helping lead the nation out of the Bush-Republican Recession. Romney, who is best known in American politics as the ultimate values-free flip-flopper is trying to re-write history today-- but the NYTimes caught him red-handed:
In 2009, Mr. Romney said Mr. Obama’s plans for rescuing the automobile industry were “tragic” and “a very sad circumstance for this country.”

A Romney spokesman said on Tuesday that the president’s plan was modeled after one Mr. Romney advocated in 2008.

“Mitt Romney had the idea first,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, a Romney spokesman, citing the Times opinion article. “You have to acknowledge that. He was advocating for a course of action that eventually the Obama administration adopted.”

...“Mitt Romney must think that the entire country has fallen into a state of amnesia if he believes he can get away with this revisionist history,” said Brad Woodhouse, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee. “The record is clear. Mitt Romney would have let G.M. and Chrysler go bankrupt without extending them a dime of federal assistance.”

Democratic officials noted that Chrysler and General Motors received the federal aid only after they entered bankruptcy — not before, as Mr. Romney’s spokesman asserted.

And they said the bankruptcy’s success depended on the federal money.

“Mitt Romney is doing circuslike contortions to get out from under the damaging words he uttered in 2008,” said Jennifer M. Granholm, a former Democratic governor of Michigan.

Here's what the President said yesterday, Republicans still jeering his decision to save the American auto industry:
Chrysler’s repayment of its outstanding loans to the U.S. Treasury and American taxpayers marks a significant milestone for the turnaround of Chrysler and the countless communities and families who rely on the American auto industry. This announcement comes six years ahead of schedule and just two years after emerging from bankruptcy, allowing Chrysler to build on its progress and continue to grow as the economy recovers. Supporting the American auto industry required making some tough decisions, but I was not willing to walk away from the workers at Chrysler and the communities that rely on this iconic American company. I said if Chrysler and all its stakeholders were willing to take the difficult steps necessary to become more competitive, America would stand by them, and we did. While there is more work to be done, we are starting to see stronger sales, additional shifts at plants and signs of strength in the auto industry and our economy, a true testament to the resolve and determination of American workers across the nation.

Chrysler's sales rose 22.5% in the first quarter, ahead of the overall auto industry, which was up by 19.6%. Chrysler made a profit of $116 million in the quarter, their first since 2006, when Republican economic policies had started to kick in and devastated the auto industry and the entire economy.

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At 2:28 PM, Blogger Cirze said...

Oh, come on!

Be fair.

Mitt was just worried that his bankster buddies wouldn't get enough.

He didn't know (who did?) that Ben would just keep printing $$$$$$$$$$$$ . . . .


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