Psst, Ed Schultz - Ford Wasn't Part of Auto Bailout

Corporate CEOs, consider yourself warned -- even if you don't accept government bailouts, leftists in media will revise history and claim you did.

Among the most pernicious practitioners of this is MSNBC loose cannon Ed Schultz, who also hosts a weekday radio show. (audio clip after page break)

Previewing the opening night of the Democratic convention on his radio show Tuesday, Schultz spoke with Wisconsin Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate about President Bush addressing the nation in September 2008 on the financial crisis.

The auto bailout that soon followed was such a success, Schultz claimed, that Ford and Chrysler are enjoying robust sales three years later. Except that Ford wasn't part of the auto bailout -- and Schultz is surely aware of this  (audio) --

SCHULTZ: That means there wasn't any money floating around for the automobile industry to go anywhere else. (Alluding to Bush saying in his September 2008 speech that credit markets had frozen). They were either going to have to tip over or they were going to have to get some help from the Treasury. And the president stepped up and made sure that they got a loan. And you don't have to look any further than today's news, number one, he saved the automobile industry, and secondly, Bloomberg News reports today, Ford US August light vehicle sales go up 12.6 percent, estimated up 8.5 percent. Chrysler, AP reports today, Chrysler US sales rise 14 percent on demand for Ram pickups, auto sales expected to stay strong. That headline would not be produced, that story would not be produced, had we had followed Mitt Romney's way and Mitt Romney's business logic on how to do this!

Remarkable indeed -- especially considering that by avoiding bankruptcy in 2009, the only major US automaker to do so, Ford has been obligated to pay off its considerable debts while bailout recipients GM and Chrysler saw most of theirs erased.

Bailout proponents like to point out that Ford was also a recipient of federal loans ($9 billion line of credit, $5 billion from the Energy Department) in 2009 as GM and Chrysler were entering into government-managed bankruptcies. Which is true -- but unlike GM and Chrysler, Ford was not required to file for bankruptcy as a condition for receiving federal money.

Schultz studiously avoids telling his listeners about the huge difficulties still facing GM lest this puncture the mythology of Obama having "saved the automobile industry." Here's Michelle Malkin's take on this yesterday at National Review Online --

The claims that GM paid back its taxpayer-funded loans "in full" -- a story peddled in campaign ads narrated by Hollywood actor Tom Hanks -- were debunked by the Treasury Department's TARP watchdog this summer. GM still owes nearly $30 billion of the $50 billion it received, and its lending arm still owes nearly $15 billion of the more than $17 billion it received. Bailout watchdog Mark Modica of the National Legal and Policy Center adds: "In addition to U.S. taxpayers anteing up, Canada put in over $10 billion, and GM was relieved of about $28 billion of bondholder obligations as UAW claims were protected. That's an improvement of almost $90 billion to the balance sheet, and the company still lags the competition." ...

GM has increased its manufacturing capacity in China by an estimated 55 percent after the bailout, according to industry watchers. ... While Team Obama lambastes GOP rival Mitt Romney for outsourcing, Government Motors is now planning to invest $1 billion over the next five years -- not in America, but in Russia. That's on top of $7 billion total in China, close to $1 billion in Mexico, and $600 million for a shirt-sponsorship deal with Manchester United, the British soccer club.

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts