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What was seen not so very long ago by many analysts as a temporary surge in automobile buying as a result of pent-up demand that would soon wane has turned into steady growth for Detroit. U.S. automakers posted another strong showing Tuesday with Chrysler up 34 percent over this time last year, GM up 12 percent and Ford up 5 percent.

Analysts are confident their sales will easily surpass 14 million vehicles this year, still below the 16.5 million peak, but one heckuva lot better than the 10.4 million they sold in 2009.

Sales have driven a steady stream of hiring new employees or turning temporary workers into permanent ones..

That news has a green tinge, too:

G.M. said it sold a record 100,000 vehicles with a fuel-economy rating of at least 30 miles per gallon in highway driving.

“The economic recovery and a deep bench of fuel-efficient cars and crossovers have been driving our sales for more than a year, but the combined impact has never been stronger than it was in March,” Don Johnson, G.M.’s vice president of United States sales operations, said in a statement. “Since the last time fuel prices spiked, both the economy and G.M.’s product portfolio are undeniably stronger.

Cue Mitt Romney. In November 2008, the putative GOP presidential nominee had a solution for the industry without a government bailout, as he wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed, Let Detroit Go Bankrupt:
If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.

Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course—the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.

First under President Bush and then President Obama, the Troubled Asset Relief Program loaned GM $49.5 billion. Money down the rat hole, Romney said.

Faced with the success of the bail-out combined with a structured bankruptcy, Romney subsequently claimed that President Obama had taken his idea but larded it with "crony capitalism," quite the turn-of-phrase coming from him. The bailout, he said, had been a gift to union bosses and completely unnecessary.

But since GM and the car companies were clearly on the mend, Romney said the government should now sell the shares of stock it acquired as part of the bailout deal so the taxpayers could get their money back:

"American taxpayers have been left on the hook for billions to benefit unions and the union bosses who contributed millions to Barack Obama's election campaign. Such a state of affairs is intolerable, and as president I would not tolerate it. The Obama administration needs to act now to divest itself of its ownership position in GM."
Proof, the Romney team will no doubt proclaim, of how important it is to have somebody who really understands business at the helm of USA, Inc. Just one problem: It's a stupid idea from a business standpoint just like his original idea for letting GM and Chrysler go bankrupt without a bailout was stupid idea.

Divesting would cost the taxpayers money.

Why? The government loans have been covered by a mix of cash and shares from GM. The Feds have sold some of our shares, but Washington still has a 32 percent stake in General Motors, 500 million shares. Of the $49.5 billion it received from TARP, the company has repaid about $23.1 billion. Leaving the balance it owes the Treasury at around $26.4 billion. If the government sold its holdings today, with GM going for $25.68 with half the trading day over, the taxpayers would get $12.8 billion.

Romney may not be able to, but you can do the math.

What it comes down to is that Romney would have been happy to let the ailing U.S. auto industry go out of business, costing a million jobs or more. And now that the industry is back on its feet, he would be happy to screw the taxpayers out of billions.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 10:08 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  would love to see dem ad on this story (15+ / 0-)

    split screen tell the story of obama v. romney solutions, really highlighting another of romneys FAILS.

    Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 10:13:23 AM PDT

  •  The Cadillac Boom (14+ / 0-)

    It was Mitt's idea that everyone buy two cadillacs. Hence, he can take credit for the auto boom.

  •  I don't get these jackholes (9+ / 0-)

    the auto industry is back with a vengeance just three years after it was close to liquidation, but according to right-wingers that doesn't mean squat because it cost the government $20 billion dollars.

    Yet the same right-wing fuckheads can't be bothered to repeal the $20 billion dollars in tax credits and tax breaks we give every single year to oil companies that are already more profitable than they've ever been.

    Are they just that fucking dumb?  Or are they just that full of shit?  Both maybe?

    "Better the occasional faults of a Government that lives in the spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a Government frozen in the ice of its own indifference." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by puakev on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 10:19:02 AM PDT

  •  There's no way Romney is going to... (5+ / 0-)

    ...Etch-a-Sketch his "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" article/proposal and then take credit for the industry's revival. The Obama campaign is going to remind voters about what Romney really thinks about Detroit as expressed in his article, and there's no way Romney and his folks are going to Etch-a-Sketch his way out of a grand mess that will culminate in his defeat in November.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Gandhi

    by alaprst on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 10:32:01 AM PDT

  •  Remember when they were talking about (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, shoeless, sfcouple, filby, ColoTim

    GM = government motors
    and how suck ass the cars from government motors would be ?

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 10:32:36 AM PDT

  •  Mitt does deserve SOME credit here (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless, filby, TheCrank

    I mean, he bought at least two Cadillacs for his wife.  

    When the truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

    by Sun dog on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 10:45:08 AM PDT

  •  That's funny. (0+ / 0-)

    You would think Romney would know more about rat holes.

    I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point -- race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.- Molly Ivins

    by shoeless on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 10:46:38 AM PDT

  •  Sales are up because (0+ / 0-)

    Mitt bought 15 cars for himself and another 5 caddies for his wife.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 10:48:40 AM PDT

  •  My sister, (4+ / 0-)

    who spends a ton of time in her car for business, was advised by her accountant to downgrade from the Cadillac Escalade -- she bought a Buick Enclave (har!  wait till the accountant finds out).  She loves her American cars -- and clearly can afford something 4 times as expensive as my parent's first house.

    First time ever that I am looking at American cars.  I had a '79 Corolla until it was wiped out by a tractor trailer (only 95k miles) and an '85 Tercel -- 210k when I gave her up (original clutch).  Those were the years of the nadir of American cars.

    Soooooo, even my Republican sister praised Obama for letting her buy her luxury American cars.

    Vi er alle norske " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 10:51:45 AM PDT

    •  I just don't get luxury cars. (0+ / 0-)

      They have no appeal to me.  I like cars with a little bit of character (Wrangler, Challenger, 500, Sonic, Cooper, etc), while luxury cars all just come across as generic sedans with some extra chrome shit thrown on and maybe a bigger (but less reliable) engine thrown in.

      But that's me.  (shrug)

      I'd give it another year or so before buying the American small cars currently on the market, just because they're all new and there will inevitably be some bugs to work out.  (The warranty would cover the bugs, but it's less of a pain in the ass, and gives you some time to wait out while they make sure no serious powertrain shit goes wrong.)  Another year or two, and I bet cars like the Cruze and Focus wind up being incredibly solid.

      Other thing I like: the American companies are making turbocharged engines affordable, which is great for both fuel economy and fun.  And they're not charging an arm and a leg for'em like the Germans.

      Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

      by Drew J Jones on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 02:02:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It could be a good idea to sell the shares now (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wsexson

    I mean, the fact that the taxpayer loses money is not the argument; if the shares go down again the taxpayer will have lost more.
    The payment is a sunk cost, so you should sell at the moment you think you will get the best price.

    That might be now, if you expect GM to slip back again. And if Mitt Romney's economic plan would go through, pushing the US back into recession, this probably would be the best time.

    If however you think that the economy will recover further you can expect GM's share price to climb further, so you should keep them.

    So, if you think about it, by proposing to sell, Mitt Romney is implictly stating that his economic plan is bogus.

    •  Rotfl. I think there are good reasons for... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      ...the government to hang on to a chunk of GM permanently.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 10:57:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  one being (0+ / 0-)

        the republican clowns (Wagoner, Lutz, others....) that were in charge of it for years that ran it into the ground.  The wingers constantly bitch that it's the UAWs fault that GM failed, but Ford had to deal with the same UAW, with arguably less favorable agreements, and still managed to avoid needing a bailout.  It is a management problem and they still haven't completely removed the culture of the previous management.  Not to bag too hard on GM, as I wholeheartedly agree with the bailout, but I haven't been convinced that they have changed their bad habits.  Keeping a leash on them for now isn't a bad idea.

    •  What does Buffett say about selling now? (0+ / 0-)

      I'd sell when he says to.

      I'm a fucking retard.

      by Helpless on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 12:02:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rmoney doesn't want the government to sell (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      on the open market - haven't you guys learned that by now?  Rmoney wants it sold in a backroom deal to a company like Bain so they can leverage against it and suck out all the now-profitable assets, leaving the husk and jobless behind.

  •  Now that Noot (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IM, sfcouple, filby, BritLaw, Eric Nelson

    is on his way out, Mitt--without missing a beat--assumes the mantle bestowed upon Gingrich so eloquently by the great Paul Krugman:

    "He's a dumb person's idea of what a smart person sounds like"

  •  I just love Joe Biden's quote: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    filby, Sherri in TX, defluxion10, PZinOR

    (to paraphrase) "GM is alive and Osama is dead."

    Go pound sand you hypocritical gop thugs.  

    "It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." President Barack Obama 3/24/09

    by sfcouple on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 11:25:54 AM PDT

  •  if it ever gets tough we talk about why AMC no (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    filby, defluxion10

    longer exists

    Milwaukee Body (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) Plant – AMC inherited a 1,600,000 sq ft (150,000 m2) body plant in Milwaukee from Nash. The plant was the main body plant for Seaman Body Company, which did a lot of business with Nash and other makers assembling bodies of various designs. For AMC, the plant was sometimes an internal headache. For instance, in late 1961, George Romney himself stormed through the plant and threatened to close it and eliminate its 9,000 jobs due to labor problems. The plant survived until the Chrysler buyout. Chrysler later decided to dispose of the factory. Upon closure, the site was named as a Superfund site. The factory was demolished and the site rehabilitated and redeveloped.

    slutty voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare." 政治委员, 政委!

    by annieli on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 11:30:49 AM PDT

  •  Pre-Sketch.... (0+ / 0-)

    an etch a sketch that pre-tells Romney's positions would be a nice compliment because for every sketch there is an anti-sketch.

    "I know the meaning of life. It doesn't help me a bit."

    by dss on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 11:45:05 AM PDT

  •  I'm convinced that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Helpless, defluxion10

    Mitt wanted GM and Chrysler to go belly up so that Bain Capital or similar companies could swoop in, buy up the assets for cheap and sell them to the Chinese.  

    He is such a tool and die...

    "Life is an occassion. Rise to it." Mr. Magorium - Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

    by Angry Pilgrim on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 11:46:11 AM PDT

  •  Wait (0+ / 0-)

    I thought you guys hated cars and wanted all of us to bike and take the bus instead of wanting a Camaro or Ferrari.

  •  I wish that the US Auto Industry would make (0+ / 0-)

    all their Gasoline based vehicles Flex-fuel that can use E-85 cause I believe that with-in a couple of years the Cellulose-based Ethanol problems will be solved and the price of a gallon of E-85 will go way down below a Gallon of Gas.http://en.wikipedia.org/...

  •  The trouble is Romney is a businessman (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim

    And businessmen don't give a damn about the economic health of the American Government.  Because businessmen care about only one thing, personal profit.  So, of course, businessman Romney wants the Government to dump its remaining GM before they go up in price.  He really wants to cheat the Government out of $12 billion so the private company can get away with the money?  If businessman Romney is ever elected president he will rob the government blind in order to enrich himself and other businessmen.

    •  You're wrong; he was a financier (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Zera Lee, ColoTim, Eric Nelson

      Mitt Romney is NOT a business man. He's never built a company that actually provides a good or service. His entire career, 100% of it, is in buying companies and repackaging their assets.

      Repeat to yourself: Romney was not a businessman. He was a vulture capitalist. Repeat to everybody in earshot.

      Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

      by TheCrank on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 12:43:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  GM stock is a good investment right now anyway (0+ / 0-)

    Definitely hold.

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 12:41:35 PM PDT

  •  I drove a chevy Volt this week. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Drew J Jones, Zera Lee

    My liberal brother-in-law just traded his Volvo for a Volt and spent the week with us. We drove all over town every day and NEVER used any gasoline. He used about 3 gallons of gas to get to our house (about 170 miles). His right-wing conservative brother came by and drove it, too. I thought he might be biased against it from all the negative press by the Obama haters, but he loved the car as well and is giving serious thought to purchasing one. I haven't owned an American car in 30 years, but I am also seriously considering a Volt as well. I want to get one just so I can plaster the back with Obama stickers. Once people understand how this car is different and actually drive one, then it will sell well, particularly once the price starts dropping on this technology. There is already a strong demand for the Volt in Europe.

  •  Now sell? Romney couldn't be more wrong.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim

    ..for the future of the middle class & even the 1%ers (just in a longer run)
    short term gain vs. Long term prosperity.

    Romneys brand of capitalism is the parasitic approach - suck out as much profit as possible as soon as possible - never mind long term prosperity & the millions of jobs that are at stake.

    Shareholders are rewarded immediate gains but the far more beneficial gains of a healthy flourishing company has been lost by this crooked variant of capitalism.

    This is a message that the Democrats could really hammer Romney on.
    Short term Romney

    'Romney likes to fire people' - when he's made his fast cash and he's done with them

    end of rant

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