America has been blessed with a new success story. With rising unemployment threatening to stall a feeble recovery, the president needs a victory very badly. The GM and Chrysler bailouts are all he has. In a bid to make the history books, the Obama administration has created “The Resurgence of the American Automotive Industry.” The report is available at Whitehouse.gov.
Enough already. The mythology of GM and Chrysler’s resurrection has transformed the automakers’ bailouts into the penultimate symbol of success for the Obama administration’s recovery efforts. If we throw enough money at a problem, we generally manage to come up with some sort of a solution.
General Motors will celebrate Thanksgiving with a lot to be thankful for. The automaker just conducted one of the largest IPOs in U.S. history while millions of taxpayers who helped to pay for GM’s bailout remain jobless, their unemployment benefits used as a bargaining chip by legislators engaged in a post-election turf war.
Despite the job loss resulting from the forced shutdown of General Motors and Chrysler dealerships, the auto industry bailout is still a focus of the president’s self-congratulatory stump speeches:
Now, the worse thing about it is that if we had done nothing, not only were your jobs gone, but supplier jobs were gone and dealership jobs were gone, and the communities that depend on them would have been wiped out.
While it is true that automakers have been temporarily rescued by TARP funds, 2,243 auto dealerships were sacrificed to the process.* A July 2010 TARP Special Inspector General’s report detailed the decisions and missteps made by the individuals behind the dealer terminations.