The Real Bailout: GM’s Alive, But Many Small Businesses Aren’t

The auto bailout was a gift from the heavens … or so the media would have us think. They reported Obama’s foray into car manufacturing as having virtually no downside. And for the UAW, perhaps it didn’t. But for the hundreds of local car dealerships arbitrarily closed in the deal, the story was far different.

Someone has told the dealerships’ side of the story and, all too predictably, been met with media silence. Tamara Darvish, vice president of family-owned Maryland dealerships DARCARS, and automotive journalist Lillie Guyer, published “Outraged,” in 2011 to document how hundreds of small businesses lost everything in the bailout.

The narrative pushed by the media is that Obama was a savior of the auto industry with his bailout. On Feb. 17, 2012, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien claimed the auto-bailout led to a “pretty incredible resurgence,” despite the $14 billion price tag for taxpayers.

On an episode of NBC’s “Today” in June 2011, co-host Meredith Vieira referred to President Obama’s auto bailout as a “gutsy call” that showed a “sign of recovery.” In July 2010, ABC and CBS parroted the White House talking points about the auto bailout being a success despite the criticism. Both networks failed to mention that the unemployment in Michigan had actually risen during Obama’s presidency.

But the auto bailouts affected more people than just those directly working for Chrysler or GM. As Darvish and Guyer related in “Outraged,” the bailout shut down 2,200 auto dealerships and cost 120,000 jobs. Worse

In Dec. of 2008, Darvish spoke at a community rally in favor of the auto bailout. Darvish was not in favor of it, however, and said, “An action by Congress would devastate not only the manufacturers, but dealers, and even worse, main streets across America.”

The story that Darvish tells in her book is quite to opposite. With the government money to save the companies, there was a catch. Some independent dealers, like DARCARS, were forced to close their doors without really any sort of notice as to why exactly they were doing it.

In a promotional video for the book titled “American Dream,” Darvish scolds Obama’s recovery plan. “The car czars blew it when they wrongly assumed that the dealers cost the manufactures money and the closing down their loyal business partners would help them in their own recovery.” Darvish sees this as an infringement of her Fifth Amendment rights.

In another promotional video, Darvish stated that it was a “big lie” to claim the manufacturers would save money by shutting down dealers, and no one asked for GM or Chrysler to show how exactly they would save money. “The truth is we are independent business men and women in America. We pay for everything that’s related to our businesses. We do not cost the manufacturers money at all,” she declared.

In June 2009, Darvish appeared on CNBC Reports with Dennis Kneale. She challenged the constitutionality of the government to intervene and force independent small businesses to close their doors. “They just discovered that it was the federal government who forced the auto makers to put the squeeze on the auto dealers and that’s not appropriate,” she stated in her opening remarks of the segment.

Not surprisingly, there had been almost no media coverage of Darvish’s book. Maybe, instead of praising Obama for his ingenuity in interfering with the private sector, media outlets should look into talking to people like Tamara Darvish who suffered from the auto bailout.