"FLASHBACK: Republicans Warned Chrysler Rescue Was ‘War On Capitalism,’ Chrysler Wouldn’t Survive"
When the Obama administration first decided it would rescue the U.S. automakers General Motors and Chrysler, Republicans exploded with warnings that such a move would be an inevitable failure, if not the beginning of the end of capitalism. Here are some examples:
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): “We should have let them go into bankruptcy, emerge and become viable corporations again. The unions didn’t want to have their very generous contracts renegotiated, so we put $80 billion into both General Motors and Chrysler, and anybody believes that Chrysler is going to survive, I’d like to meet them.” [11/19/2009]
SEN. JIM DEMINT (R-SC): “The government has forced taxpayers to buy these failing companies without any plausible plan for profitability.” [06/01/2009]
REP. PAUL BROUN (R-GA): “This is an unprecedented takeover from the private sector by this administration…It is totally unconstitutional, it’s totally against freedom, it’s totally unprecedented, and it’s exactly the same thing that Hugo Chávez is doing down in Venezuela.” [06/09/2009]
REP. TRENT FRANKS (R-AZ): When Washington gets involved in a company, “the disaster that follows is predictable.” [07/22/2009]
REP. LAMAR SMITH (R-TX): The government-led bankruptcy reorganizations of the companies “have been the leading edge of the Obama administration’s war on capitalism.” [7/22/2009]
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN): “I’m very concerned again about these motor takeovers from the federal government…We have a gangster government when the federal government has set up a new cartel and private businesses now have to go begging with their hand out.” [06/09/2009]
Aside from the obvious continued existence of capitalism, reality has revealed a very different tale, as The Hill outlined today:
The smallest of the Big Three U.S. automakers appears poised for a comeback less than two years after the government saved it from extinction. Chrysler made a $569 million net profit last year and has $10 billion in hand. It is adding jobs in the U.S. and slowly countering impressions in Washington and elsewhere that it can’t survive. “Over the course of the last 12 months, we’ve raised our outlook significantly,” said George Magliano, senior auto analyst for IHS Global Insight. “Their whole tone has changed over the last six to eight months.”
Of course, Republicans made similar claims about the rescue of GM, saying that it was the “road to socialism.” According to the Center for Automotive Research, “if the government had not invested in the automotive industry, up to 80,000 automotive jobs would have been lost…Once Chrysler and GM emerged from their ‘orderly’ bankruptcies, the growth of automotive sector employment has been strong, with 52,900 workers added since July 2009. Had GM and Chrysler not successfully emerged, those jobs would have been permanently lost.”
ThinkProgress intern Kevin Donohoe contributed research to this post.