As the 2012 election season turns full throttle, the president and members of his administration are pointing to their only economic success story — the government’s investment in an ailing, failing auto industry and the subsequent revival of the nation’s manufacturing base.
Vice President Biden recently stated on a campaign stop that “Osama bin Laden is dead and GM is alive.”
But let’s put this presidential campaign victory tour into perspective. The president and even the media fail to acknowledge a critical fact, that the initial decision to help the automobile industry began with the Bush administration. This recovery plan was set in motion under a Republican administration, approved with votes in Congress from both parties, and was then continued by President Obama.
It’s odd how this president and the press are so anxious and willing to blame former President George W. Bush for a failing economy and soaring national debt, yet the president’s primary example of a GM turnaround began under the Bush watch. Apparently the president wants it both ways. In reality, this auto industry recovery is an example of both parties working together to help save a national treasure in our auto industry and preserve jobs in industries that depend on auto manufacturing.
I wrote some time ago that conservatives, myself among them, were certainly justified in opposing government involvement and partial ownership of a private company such as General Motors. Generally, when the government gets its fingers into private industry, problems only get worse. But since the decision was made to invest tax dollars in GM and Chrysler, let’s look under the hood of GM to examine how and why this company is making a comeback. When you check the facts, you quickly understand how GM’s accomplishments have nothing to do with this president and everything to do with restoring sound business practices that are rooted in conservative free-market principles — something you’ll never hear Obama, Biden or the media talk about.
The old days of GM building poor-quality vehicles that no one wanted to buy are over. The company finished 2011 by increasing U.S. sales by 14 percent versus 11 percent for the entire auto industry. GM’s market share increased to 19 percent, the first share increase for the company since 2002. All four GM brands increased their total sales and posted double-digit gains in retail sales. Since the bailout, GM has racked up a remarkable seven consecutive quarters of profitability. How? Not due to any help from the Obama administration.