In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama boasted about saving the American car industry.
If President Obama has one achievement to be proud of, apart from killing Osama Bin Laden, is his administration's emergency assistance to the American auto industry. The government loans allowed the industry to survive the 2008 recession, along with the beginning of major restructuring due to years of poor management. In a controlled bankruptcy process, the administration bailed out two of the three American car giants.
Over $50 billion of taxpayer money was needed to guide the industry through Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to stabilize it. Some courage was also needed to withstand attacks from those opposed to the bailout and any government involvement. So yesterday, in his last State of the Union address before the presidential elections, in front of both houses of Congress and tens of millions of TV viewers, (only after he mentioned the elimination of Bin Laden), Obama boasted and took credit for rescuing the American auto industry, declaring: "Tonight, the American auto industry is back."
Obama can take heart from the revival of the industry and hopes that with increasing sales this year, as predicted, will enhance his re-election chances. Last year, cars and light truck sales grew by almost 11 percent, as the two companies the administration assisted most, General Motors and Chrysler, did better than average. Chrysler sales grew by 25 percent and GM recaptured her historic post as the world's number one car manufacturer. "On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse," said Obama. "Some even said we should let it die. With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen.
In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility. We got workers and automakers to settle their differences. We got the industry to retool and restructure. Today, General Motors is back on top as the world's number-one automaker. Chrysler has grown faster in the U.S. than any major car company. Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants and factories. And together, the entire industry added nearly 160,000 jobs." And as every political analyst knows, job creation and unemployment are the two elements that can decide the upcoming elections results. And more car sales mean more jobs.