I respect the Obamaphone lady far more than this man:
“CEO Dan Akerson said it’s time to end the debate over whether the government’s 2009 bailout of the automaker was worth it. ‘Four years afterwards, it’s pretty hard to debate (that) it wasn’t successful, $25 billion in profits later,’ Akerson said Thursday at GM’s annual meeting, in response to a shareholder question suggesting that some people won’t buy GM cars until taxpayers are repaid. Akerson noted President Bush and President Obama had both backed bailouts. ‘Two administrations with radically different points of view saw the wisdom of saving a company that was central to the manufacturing base of this country,’ he said. ‘It was a wise move.’ Not only is GM profitable today, but Ford and Chrysler are too. ‘All three are profitable,” Akerson said. ‘That speaks to whether it was a wise decision.’ Without it, he said, ‘a huge pension deficit of $26 billion would have gone on the government books,’ as the liability would have been transferred to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. ‘I think we’ve done a credible job, not incredible,’ Akerson concluded. ‘Net, net, the American citizens were well-served by a government decision that was difficult for two presidents.’”
Akerson has no idea what he is talking about. He is committing the classic “broken window” fallacy. He is arguing because people spent money fixing a broken window that it was good for the economy and preferable to an unbroken window. But what the people would have done if they hadn’t ever had to spend the money fixing the window is never addressed. No one sees the damage done by the spending that never happened because funds had to be diverted to the window.
Likewise, if we believe the hype, GE is now profitable. OK, let’s go with that scenario. How does that prove that a new company might not have been a better deal for every way? Why do we think that the present record of a company that got bailed out wouldn’t be surpassed by a company that bought out their resources or replaced them?
Ford never got bailed out. Why should Ford employees and contractors be on the hook to subsidize their competitor? It is completely unethical. Akerson may deal in cars, but he is no different than any of the Wall Street bankers. He wants to take his profits to the bank and take his losses out of the nation’s economy.
When Americans hear stories (true or not) about other states subsidizing their auto industries so that their cars are cheaper when they are imported to the US to compete with “our” manufacturers, they tend to get outraged. How can we get outraged now when we all know that GM only exists because of exactly the same thing? Taxpayers have basically been drafted in a war against foreign car manufacturers.
Akerson’s most hysterical argument was to appeal to Bush and Obama both favoring the bailout, because they are “two administrations with radically different points of view.” Ha! Both advocated bailouts, stimulus, increasing deficits and debt, and saving banks, as well as war, drones, warrantless surveillance, prosecution of whistleblowers, assassinations, detentions without trials, etc.
But we’re going to keep pretending they had “radically different points of view,” no matter what.