The Humble Libertarian

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Obama Lies About the Auto Bailout

Glenn Kessler at The Washington Post reports:

We take no view on whether the administration’s efforts on behalf of the automobile industry were a good or bad thing; that’s a matter for the editorial pages and eventually the historians. But we are interested in the facts the president cited to make his case.

What we found is one of the most misleading collections of assertions we have seen in a short presidential speech. Virtually every claim by the president regarding the auto industry needs an asterisk, just like the fine print in that too-good-to-be-true car loan.

Let’s look at the claims in the order in which the president said them.

“Chrysler has repaid every dime and more of what it owes American taxpayers for their support during my presidency — and it repaid that money six years ahead of schedule. And this week, we reached a deal to sell our remaining stake. That means soon, Chrysler will be 100 percent in private hands.”

Wow, “every dime and more” sounds like such a bargain. Not only did Chrysler pay back the loan, with interest — but the company paid back even more than they owed. Isn’t America great or what?

Not so fast. The president snuck in the weasel words “during my presidency” in his statement. What does that mean?

According to the White House, Obama is counting only the $8.5 billion loan that he made to Chrysler, not the $4 billion that President George W. Bush extended in his last month in office. However, Obama was not a disinterested observer at the time. According to The Washington Post article on the Bush loan, the incoming president called Bush’s action a “necessary step . . . to help avoid a collapse of our auto industry that would have had devastating consequences for our economy and our workers.”

Under the administration’s math, the U.S. government will receive $11.2 billion back from Chrysler, far more than the $8.5 billion Obama extended.

Through this sleight-of-hand accounting, the White House can conveniently ignore Bush’s loan, but even the Treasury Department admits that U.S. taxpayers will not recoup about $1.3 billion of the entire $12.5 billion investment when all is said and done.

Someone explain to me again why a supposedly "progressive" president is lying to justify a coerced (and illegal) loan to a wealthy, irresponsible corporation from hard working poor and middle class Americans?

Here's a fun fact about the Chrysler bailout: the purpose wasn't even to save jobs. Chrysler is owned by a multi-billion dollar private equity firm called Cerberus Capital Management. They could have arguably injected the necessary capital to tie Chrysler over until its profits improved. Poor and middle class Americans were illegally forced by Bush and Obama to make a loan to Chrysler so its ultimate owners wouldn't have to take a hit to their stocks and profits.

There's a word to describe this kind of corruption: evil.


Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
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