James Stotter

When President Obama blames former President Bush for so many things, he forgets to blame Bush for one other boondoggle of an economic policy - the auto bailout. Well, that was way back when Obama first took office, nearly four years ago. How quickly even some participants forget.

The fact is that the auto bailout was passed in the last six or so weeks of the Bush Administration, and with George W. urging Congress to support it. Bush actually went further. Bush authorized his Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, to use some of the TARP funds for the auto industry. TARP (Targeted Asset Relief Program) was supposed to be dedicated to the bank bailouts. Bush went against many of his fellow Republicans, but got the Democrats enough votes to make sure the bailout wasn’t blocked.

And here all the time we thought only far left Democrats cared about labor. Gee. Maybe Republicans have souls, too.

Meanwhile what did Obama and other liberal Democrats, such Ohio’s Sherrod Brown, do? They lobbied Bush for help. The partisan thing for Bush to have done would have been to treat the Dems like they--especially Obama—-have treated him ever since Obama stopped making nice right after the inaugural festivities and Bush was airborne back to Texas.

The footnotes below provide some partial documentation of all this. * is a recent story in the online Cleveland Plain Dealer by former U.S. Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio) who co-chaired the Senate’s auto caucus. ** is the online headlines of The New York Times from Jan. 16, 2009, with a link to the story, assuming the link still works (it did for me when I wrote this, but I have the lowest-cost online subscription). In essence, five days before Obama was inaugurated, the Senate released the second half of the initial bailout funds on January 15, 2009. The part of The Times article about the auto industry is towards the end.

Many people think Obama really deserves the “Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!” award for this. If Obama’s ads had claimed he administered the bailout monies, expanded what was eventually available for the auto industry, and that he helped lobby Bush to pass the act back in late 2008, that would be truthful. But integrity has been short coming in this campaign—-especially from the holier than thou liberal Democrats with their Chicago-style politics. For this vote, there were 52 "yes" votes in the Senate. Obama got one. Bush got six Republicans. So, in a real sense, Obama was less than two percent responsible. All this is confirmed by the articles cited plus other news articles from late 2008 and early 2009 about the auto bailout.

Is saving all those jobs really a boondoggle? It depends on what you call a minimum of $30,000 per worker. If you were a “rescued” auto worker, certainly no. But how about if you’re just an ordinary hard working taxpayer having your hard-earned tax dollars used to save someone else’s job? The numbers in footnote *** show every possible auto related job in the country. In realty, only the employees of General Motors (GM), Chrysler, and their supply chains were saved by the bailout, so the per worker benefits were probably close to double what’s shown. In other words, the American taxpayers paid roughly twice their average take home pay to save just one auto worker’s job. It must be nice to have that kind of clout or be able to cause that kind of reckless spending.

This bailout cost 1/160 of one year’s GDP! That is significant! (See last number is expressed as .625%.)

* http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2012/09/george_w_bush_deserves_credit.html

By former U.S. Senator from Ohio, George Voinovich, co-chair of the U.S. Senate’s auto caucus. Article from Cleveland Plain Dealer online, September 29, 2012.

** Senate Releases Second Portion of Bailout Fund
The 52-42 Senate vote gave Barack Obama a $350 billion war chest, just as Democrats in the House unveiled an $825 billion fiscal recovery plan.



Total Cost So Far---------------$75,000,000,000 (75 billion)

Total auto industry employees-------2,500,000 (2.5 million)

Cost per worker---------------------------$30,000

Cost as a percent of GDP------------------0.625%


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