President Obama swooped into Detroit on Friday to promote his administration's auto bailout a year after the carmaker bankruptcies. Speaking at a Chrysler plant, he criticized
the Republicans' opposition to propping up the beleaguered industry.
"If some folks had their way, none of this would be happening," he said.
"Just want to point that out. Right? This plant and your jobs might not
exist." In retrospect, did Obama's policies help the Detroit
- The Auto Bailout Saved the Industry, writes Steven Pearlstein
in The Washington Post: "A year later, the auto bailout is an
unqualified success. The government used its leverage to force the
companies to make the painful changes they should have made years
before, and then backed off and let the companies run themselves without
any noticeable interference... For the first time since 2004, GM and
Chrysler, along with Ford, all reported operating profits in their U.S.
businesses last quarter. The domestic auto industry added 55,000 jobs
last year, ending a decade-long string of declines. Auto sector exports
are up 57 percent so far this year and, thanks largely to new government
regulations, the industry is moving quickly to introduce more
fuel-efficient vehicles. Most surprising of all, GM and Chrysler have
already repaid more than $8 billion in government loans, while GM is
preparing for an initial stock offering later this year that would allow
the government to recoup most, if not all, of its investment"
- The Jury's Out on Obama's Auto Policies, writes the Detroit News editorial board:
"The people here instinctively understand that the vehicles Washington
is forcing Detroit to invest its resources in -- teeny, electric-powered
sedans -- will not wow the market or produce big profits for Detroit.
They get that if Washington maintains its heavy hand in auto
manufacturing, the automakers will be on their backs again before long.
And they also know how sensitive auto sales are to the bounces of the
economy. If Obama's spending addiction, radical environmental
intentions and expansion of government's control of the private
marketplace lead the country back to economic ruin, the heroic bailouts
of General Motors and Chrysler will mean nothing."
- The President Prevailed, writes Steve Benen
in the Washington Monthly: "After Obama intervened to rescue auto
manufacturers a year ago, the right insisted it was an example of his
purported desire to be a communist dictator. A year later, his efforts
look pretty smart, and his detractors' apoplexy looks pretty foolish."
- Don't Get Cocky, Obama, writes Manny Lopez
at the Detroit News: "President Obama did what had to be done to ensure
that America's economy didn't spiral into oblivion. But it is neither
proof that government intervion works or is worthy. It only proves that
he was smart enough to know that GM and Chrysler failing on his watch
would be disastrous for hundreds of thousands of families and his
future. He ought to temper his self-promotional spin today."
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