One of the reasons I seldom listen to the President’s speeches is because often I get so angry that it ruins my evening.  On Wednesday, President Obama said that President Bush was responsible for bailing out auto companies in Detroit without asking anything in return. “Keep in mind,” the president said, “That the administration before us, they had been writing some checks to the auto industry asking nothing in return. It was just a bailout, straight — straightforward.”

President Obama tries to attack bailouts from Bush (he voted for them then) while getting credit for his bailouts. All of this sprinkled with a promise  to do it again. But if his policy was so successful, why not again?  It is all politics, he wants to take credit for bailing out companies while also trying to get the votes of those angry at the bailouts. He said that if it weren’t for his way of bailing out, the auto industry would have been a failure. He “demanded responsibility” from the auto industry and twisted their arms to “retool and to restructure.” Yes, all they need was money and a tweak. How clever the wording of things!

It is FALSE that the Bush administration demanded “nothing in return”. When Bush authorized the auto loan of $17.4 billion, in October 2008, some aspects of the loan were contingent upon the companies hitting “Restructuring Targets.” To say that it was just a grant without expectations is simply untrue. Of course, the problem is with the bailouts themselves, not with demands for “restructuring.” In effect, Bush simply gave Obama an unlimited line of credit to bail companies out. Instead of $17.4 billion, Obama gave them $85 billion. Was his policy rosie for our country? The Treasury Department announced in November  that “it expects to lose $23.6 billion in the auto bailout, as a result of the sharp decline in GM stock.”

It is wrong for both Bush and Obama to bail them out, demands or not. Period. Who cares what is demanded?  Who gives government (Bush or him) the right to intervene in our private sector to bail out companies?  Instead of praising his predecessor for starting a bailout and giving him a blank check, he derides him and takes credit, while distorting the facts.

He then adds, “Over the past two years, that entire industry has added nearly 160,000 jobs, GM is number one in the world again. Ford is investing billions in new American plants. Chrysler is growing faster. So today, the American auto industry is back.”

First, Ford did not receive bailouts. How can he include them in trying to convince us that his policies are so good? Second, it is incorrect that GM is number one in the world again. According to Motor Trend, there is a good reason to think Volkswagen is number one globally, without bailouts! GM’s numbers include one million sales by Chinese automakers SAIC Motor Corporation and Wuling Motors Corporation, with which GM has joint ventures but no controlling stake.

In any event, no president has the right to choose winners and losers and use taxpayer money to do so. It does not matter if GM is now doing well or not, government usurps our freedom by meddling in a free economy and getting companies to become quasi-government bureaucracies.

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