Once again … the nation saw an example of how right it was for President George W. Bush to launch and President Barack Obama to pursue efforts to save the domestic auto industry in late 2008 and 2009.
Chrysler Group LLC announced that it was repaying its government loans of $7.6 billion less than two years after emerging from an accelerated and modified bankruptcy.
Chrysler today is a dynamic competitor in the automotive market, as is General Motors Co., which has also repaid its loans and last year re-entered the stock market. Chrysler has yet to offer its stock for sale. The U.S. government still holds shares in both companies.
There were those free marketers — aided by a cadre of self-serving senators from states hosting foreign manufacturing plants — who were willing to allow GM and Chrysler to fail spectacularly. Even Bush said that at another time he would have been tempted to look the other way, but he knew that a seriously wounded economy could not have survived such a trauma.
For a fraction of what the federal government provided for “too-big-to-fail” financial institutions, Washington saved an industry and kept a recession from turning into a depression. Now the investment is paying visible dividends.
The Vindicator, Youngstown, Ohio (May 31)