Despite Clint Eastwood's pronouncement Monday that he is "certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama," the President's fans in the media are doing a victory lap over Super Bowl Sunday's Chrysler commercial featuring the Oscar-winning actor and filmmaker.
So excited by this ad was MSNBC's Ed Schultz Monday that he disgustingly asked his audience, "Will voters hold Republicans accountable for trying to kill the American auto industry?" (video follows with commentary):
"Will voters hold Republicans accountable for trying to kill the American auto industry?" -- MSNBC's Ed Schultz, February 6, 2012
Sadly, despite what Eastwood told Fox News producer Ron Mitchell, this is likely how the Obama-loving media are going to play this.
Never mind that Republicans opposed the bailout of GM and Chrysler because they felt both companies would be better off long-term if they went through conventional bankruptcies and reorganizations without the government's financial assistance, and if either or both didn't, it was because they were no longer viable entities.
Never mind that Ford did not participate in this bailout nor did the hundreds nay thousands of companies that supply the auto industry meaning that even if GM and Chrysler both ceased to exist - which was likely not going to be the case despite what folks like Schultz dishonestly claim - the auto industry would be far from dead.
Never mind that with the government's assistance, the auto industry is nowhere near back to where it was before this most recent recession began.
There were 955,000 employees associated with automobile and parts manufacturing in December 2007. There are 746,000 today.
As for those employed by motor vehicle and parts dealers, that number was 1.9 million. Today it's 1.7 million. That means we're still over 400,000 underwater despite all the money spent.
How big of a rebound has this represented as far as jobs are concerned?
There's been about a 90,000 increase in vehicle and parts dealer workers since May 2009 when the bailout was announced and about 100,000 in automobile and parts manufacturing.
Good news for those workers to be sure, but calling this auto bailout a success seems quite premature, especially given last week's report from the Treasury Department (via Detroit News):
The U.S. Treasury Department boosted its estimate of government losses in the $85 billion auto bailout by $170 million.
In the government's latest report to Congress this month, the Treasury upped its estimate to $23.77 billion, up from $23.6 billion.
Last fall, the government dramatically boosted its forecast of losses on the rescues of General Motors Co., Chrysler Group LLC and their finance units from $14 billion to $23.6 billion.
Much of the increase in losses is due to the sharp decline of GM's stock price over the last six months.
At this point, the auto bailout has cost taxpayers $124,000 per new hire. Was that money well spent?
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