Obama Touts Bailout After Reports Administration Rejected GM Offer to Cut Government Ties
September 17, 2012
The Wall Street Journal reports today that General Motors executives have asked the Treasury Department to sell its stake in the giant automaker. The administration has refused.
Oddly enough, today we also learned that the Obama administration is launching a complaint at the World Trade Organization over China's allegedly unfair subsidizing of its auto industry. The United States will charge the Chinese government with subsidizing auto and auto parts producers from 2009 and 2011 to the tune of $1 billion. (Protectionism, it seems, always becomes a vital component of economic policy when a candidate is campaigning in Ohio.)
Remember, when President Barack Obama pursues nationalization, he's making a gutsy call and "saving" the American auto industry. Democrats brought up the bailout 150 times during the Democratic National Convention. It was such a gutsy call, in fact, that U.S. taxpayers, who rescued the heavily unionized automaker, now own around 26.5 percent of the company.
Yet back in June of 2009, President Barack Obama claimed taxpayers were only "reluctant shareholders" after the government took its stake in General Motors. "What we are not doing - what I have no interest in doing - is running G.M."
He went on:
"They, and not the government, will call the shots and make the decisions about how to turn this company around. The federal government will refrain from exercising its rights as a shareholder in all but the most fundamental corporate decisions."
If General Motors believes it needs to extricate itself from government to be successful, why would reluctant shareholders stand in the way?