Obama on GM bailout: “Today, that bet has paid off.”
posted at 9:41 am on December 10, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
I felt the need to post this as an addendum to last night’s news that the federal government has finally sold off their remaining shares in General Motors, mostly because President Obama and his administration’s constant commandeering of economic language that has no place in the realm of the public sector irks me to no end. From the official White House statement:
“When I took office, the American auto industry – the heartbeat of American manufacturing – was on the verge of collapse. Two of the Big Three – GM and Chrysler – were on the brink of failure, threatening to take suppliers, distributors and entire communities down with them. In the midst of what was already the worst recession since the Great Depression, another one million Americans were in danger of losing their jobs.
As President, I refused to let that happen. I refused to walk away from American workers and an iconic American industry. But in exchange for rescuing and retooling GM and Chrysler with taxpayer dollars, we demanded responsibility and results. In 2011, we marked the end of an important chapter as Chrysler repaid every dime and more of what it owed the American taxpayers from the investment we made under my Administration’s watch. Today, we’re closing the book by selling the remaining shares of the federal government’s investment in General Motors. GM has now repaid every taxpayer dollar my Administration committed to its rescue, plus billions invested by the previous Administration.
Less than five years later, each of the Big Three automakers is now strong enough to stand on its own. They’re profitable for the first time in nearly a decade. The industry has added more than 372,000 new jobs – its strongest growth since the 1990s. Thanks to the workers on our assembly lines, some of the most high-tech, fuel-efficient cars in the world are once again designed, engineered, and built right here in America – and the rest of the world is buying more of them than ever before.
Yes, because a $10 billion loss on the part of that ever-munificent and conveniently faceless benefactor, the taxpayers, is a mere pittance, am I right?
This bailout was not a “bet” or an “investment” in any traditional financial sense of the word. This was not the introduction of good old-fashioned and prosperity-generating free-market competition, but rather the deliberate thwarting of it. President Obama adores the term “investment” as a rhetorical substitute for what, in just about every instance he has applied it, has been little more than straight-up corporate pork (the Department of Energy’s green-energy loan guarantee program springs immediately to mind). It’s not an investment when the federal government has the power to deliberately manipulate market conditions to favor certain players over others, and over the deviating wishes of consumers. It really is just venture socialism.
And I must say, I had no idea we could distinguish between GM’s repayment of “every taxpayer dollar my Administration committed to its rescue, plus billions invested by the previous Administration,” rather than simply a lump sum owed to the federal government, nor that the distinction would convey a single iota of actual meaning rather than acting as an empty rhetorical flourish, since his administration enthusiastically doubled down on the practice …but, meh. If President Obama says there is, it’s probably legit.