Politics

Romney's sour grapes whine

Shorter Romney op-ed: Darn that Obama for saving the auto industry after I predicted the bailout wouldn’t work.

Too bad for Mitt. As Steve Benen pointed out this morning, the bailout worked:

We now know the gamble paid off. Chrysler has posted its first profit in 15 years; GM is building new American facilities; and plants are operating at a capacity unseen in a long while. General Motors went from the brink of total failure to reclaiming its spot as the world’s top automaker, and as the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month, “The auto industry hasn’t just turned the corner. It’s starting to accelerate.”

So what is Romney complaining about? Marcy Wheeler gives us a clue:

He’s complaining, of course, that VEBA (the trust fund run by professionals that allowed the auto companies to spin off contractual obligations–retiree healthcare–to the unions) got a stake in Chrysler while Chrysler’s secured creditors took a haircut.

So, in part, he’s basically complaining that the bailout preserved the healthcare a bunch of 55+ year old blue collar workers were promised. He’s pissed they got to keep their healthcare.

He’s also complaining that banks took a haircut, as would happen in any managed bankruptcy.

But it’s more than that. He’s complaining that a bunch of banks that themselves had been bailed out had to take a haircut. He’s complaining, for example, that JP Morgan Chase, Chrysler’s largest creditor at the time and the recipient, itself, of $68.6B in bailout loans, had to take a haircut on $2B in loans to Chrysler.

If only everyone had listened to Mitt back in 2008, he would have managed that bankruptcy so differently. Not hard to predict how that would have played out, Bain style. Crony private equity capitalists would have bought the company, liquated its assets and fired the union workers, dumping their workers earned obligations on the federal government. And of course, the new owners would have walked off with all the money in management fees. Or something like that.

In essence, Romney’s main complaint is the bailout worked. He’s upset President Obama didn’t seize this opportunity to destroy the atuo workers union so his crony captialists could cash in big. As Romney clearly said in 2008, he believes we should have allowed Detroit to go bankrupt.

Libby Spencer
Libby Spencer is a social media maven whose political commentary has been published on a wide variety of websites including a rather short lived guest blog at Fox News. She has been practicing her particular brand of punditry at the Detroit News Politics blog since April 2004.