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Actually, No

So, apparently the President is on a victory lap for only losing $14 billion of taxpayers’ money to “save” thousands and thousands of auto jobs and in the process we are told:

Ron Bloom, the president’s top manufacturing adviser, summed up the White House point of view Wednesday: “At the time the president chose to help Chrysler, at the time he chose to help General Motors, a lot of people said you’re throwing good money after bad, you’ll never get out, these companies are not savable.”

The auto industry success is a potentially powerful political story for the president. With Washington focused now on budget cutting, the administration does not have the political leverage to spend money on jobs initiatives, let alone a new economic stimulus.

Still, any claim that the administration can make that it saved or restored jobs is a plus in an environment where unemployment hovers around 9 percent.

Uh, actually, no. The argument sort of went like this. Sure, you can throw billions at GM and Chrysler. And everyone will see that. Heck, I can save GM and Chrysler if we throw enough money at them (again). What no one will see, and surely you will not remind folks while you do your victory lap three years from now, is that we will never know what would have been done with those billions of dollars and those auto assets and workers had they been politically directed at these two firms. And no doubt, this had everything to do with politics.

I’ll not rehash here the arguments that demonstrate that the losses are far larger than the $14 billion the President is celebrating.

2 Responses to “Actually, No”

  1. Harry says:


    And big broken windows; too.

    I heard that the government had expected a $60 billion loss, so a twentysomething loss is supposed to be some kind of success. Selling stupid Chevy Volts. How about Yugos? Or Lada Limousines?

    Tim Geithner is still talking up what will happen to interest rates if congress does not roll over his black credit card. The horse is already out of the barn, Tim.

    Maybe Stiglitz and Rizzo can get together over a campfire in the Adirondacs to talk of the success of competing economic theories and the limitations of their and our knowledge.

  2. Michael says:

    Not to mention how difficult it is to find a used car at this point; with some of them at such high prices, I might as well buy new (only can’t afford that).

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