Opinion: The Auto Bailout Wasn’t A Safe Financial Deal For America
As the political “left” and President Barack Obama continue to try to gain much-needed political support in the Midwest’s manufacturing states such as Ohio and Michigan prior to the quickly approaching November 6th Election Day, the Obama claims ignore many factors that have been negative regarding Obama’s auto industry bailout during his term as president.
While those who were affected by the bailout were delighted to have a job at the end of the politically-induced day, there were other methods of helping the auto industry survive and other methods of saving the manufacturing jobs without going to the extremely costly extent and extremely politicized extent which Obama has taken.
As he continually tries to enjoy his political pay day regarding the auto industry bailout, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s criticism of what Obama has done is gaining momentum among the logical masses in this country, including those in the manufacturing Midwest.
Taking a look at what was published just two months ago in Forbes Magazine, Obama’s made-in-the-USA automobile-balloon is burst into thin air. In an article entitled “Outsourcer-In-Chief: Obama of General Motors”, GM admits that it outsources two-thirds of its jobs out of the United States to other countries. Truth be told, Obama bailed out a company that makes less than 1-in-5 of its automobiles here in the country that bailed the company out with tax dollars via Obama’s move.
Not convinced? Don’t believe it? Check the General Motors annual report dated December 31, 2011 and one will clearly see that only 98,000 of the 207,000 GM jobs are here in the United States. Among other locations, 12,000 are in Canada and 11,500 are in Mexico. All day, the report says that General Motors has 74,500 jobs in the United States and 122,500 jobs abroad – after Obama’s high-profiled and self-acclaimed great move with the bailout. Do the math. None of the other countries helped save the company but two-thirds of the job are not in the United States.
Again, it’s great some Americans have jobs that otherwise wouldn’t without the bailout, but the entire truth needs to be told. Like the devastation of the Solyndra and other green company deals within Obama’s “give away”, let’s look at all the facts. Let’s not allow Obama and his administration to simply highlight the alleged positives of his bailouts and then retreat. He needs to tell Americans the entire story – the entire honest story – because, after all, Americans paid for it.
Gov. Romney admits that he would not have given the auto industries government money to turn themselves around, but instead would have done what other business owners must do is they choose to survive a difficult time. They would have to have gotten loans during a managed bankruptcy from private financiers. This is how businesses stay alive without burdening a government that is already $16 trillion in debt.
Additionally, Romney says that he would have encouraged the nation’s private financiers to loan money to the troubled auto companies.
While General Motors and Chrysler took President Obama’s “easy out”, Ford chose to go the public rather than governmental route – and Ford is still in business. Ford gained a lot of respect – and business – during President Obama’s term because they survived without accepting the burdensome bailout which GM and Chrysler snatched up.
Some, including Romney, believe Obama ended up taking Romney’s approach and advice anyway by engineering somewhat of a managed bankruptcy in 2009 when he granted the bailout.
GM and Chrysler chose to keep their businesses and their employees’ jobs at the risk of sinking the national economy further while Ford did not. There are pros and cons on which method was better for keeping the companies alive, but there is little argument as to which method of keeping one’s business alive was more respectful of the American people and their ensuing debt which now stands double what it was in 2008 when Obama was running for his first term.
Obama repeatedly tries to say that the auto industry has paid its debt to the American taxpayers. Where does Obama and those who disagree with him get their information? It depends on what you read and what you want to believe. Most sources say that General Motors still owed the government $27.2 billion as of September 2012 while most say that Chrysler has paid back the money.
A somewhat-dated Forbes article from many months ago says both auto companies have paid the government back. Maybe that’s the only source President Obama reads or refers to when speaking publicly.
Yes, it’s great that all turned out well for the auto workers, but it is absolutely horrendous to know that the American taxpayers via President Obama’s actions could have been left standing for billions of dollars – and still might. Furthermore, it’s extremely misleading to consider what Obama is campaigning on throughout the Midwest as Election Day approaches when reading General Motors’ data sheets. Like many other issues Obama boasts about, it’s not all as positive as he claims.
About Scott Paulson
Scott Paulson writes political commentary for Examiner.com and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.