Granted it was more than three years ago, which is a while. But since the Obama administration couldn't conjure up any more recent economic achievements to speak of, you might think they would at least remember the auto bankruptcies accurately enough to note that they were, in fact, bankruptcies.
Perhaps Democrats were desperate to manufacture a false contrast? If so it helped that they had an assist from the New York Times, which wrote the provocative headline "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" on a 2008 op-ed by Mitt Romney that advocate a managed bankruptcy process. A more accurate headline might have been: "Let GM and Chrysler Go through a Managed Bankruptcy."
"A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs," Romney wrote. "In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check."
President Bush disregarded this sensible advice, instead handing over bailout checks to General Motors, Chrysler, and their finance companies that totaled about $25 billion. When Obama took office he initially followed Bush's example rather than Romney's recommendation, forking over another $20 billion in bailout checks in a futile attempt to stave off bankruptcy.
Those bailouts failed, and ultimately Chrysler and General Motors both went through managed bankruptcies - what Romney recommended. Taxpayers were out $45 billion that was wasted bailing out the pre-bankruptcy companies.
The Romney plan? "The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk." So he was on board with putting in taxpayer dollars, as long as it was to finance reorganization in bankruptcy. We know that in the bankruptcies that actually happened, that financing totaled $30 billion for General Motors and $5 billion for Chrysler.
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment, a columnist on Fox News Opinion, chairman of the Internet Freedom Coalition, and author of the 2011 book Democracy Denied.
American Commitment is dedicated to restoring and protecting America’s core commitment to free markets, economic growth, Constitutionally-limited government, property rights, and individual freedom.
Washingtonian magazine named Mr. Kerpen to their "Guest List" in 2008 and The Hill newspaper named Mr. Kerpen a "Top Grassroots Lobbyist" in 2011.
Mr. Kerpen's op-eds have run in newspapers across the country and he is a frequent radio and television commentator on economic growth issues.
Prior to joining American Commitment, Mr. Kerpen served as vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity. Mr. Kerpen has also previously worked as an analyst and researcher for the Free Enterprise Fund, the Club for Growth, and the Cato Institute.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Kerpen currently resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife Joanna and their daughter Lilly.
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