During the closing speech at this year’s National Automobile Dealers’ Association convention in Las Vegas on February 6, former president George W. Bush said he’d bail out US automakers again in a heartbeat if he had to.
Speaking in front of some 22,000 dealers from the US and around the world, the former president (shown above visiting the GM plant in Fairfax, KS while still in office), said that although he was a firm believer in the free market economy and corporations having to pay for consequences resulting from bad decision making; he also believed stepping in to save Chrysler and General Motors was the right thing to do.
“Sometimes circumstances get in the way of philosophy,” he said, yet if it came down to saving the US auto industry, “I would make the same decision again.”
While still in office, Bush pushed through a rescue package of some $25 billion in emergency aid; $4 billion set aside for Chrysler, while some $13.4 was allocated to GM. This was followed by an additional $60 billion from the Obama administration in 2009.
Chrysler paid back its loans last May, six years ahead of schedule and posted a net profit of $183 million for 2011, it’s first time in the black since 2005. GM, so far has paid back about $23 million of the money it borrowed, though some 26 percent of the company is still owned by the US Treasury.
Bush’s speech at the NADA convention was littered with humor, including remarks that he missed some of the perks of being C-in-C. “I had to stop at some of the stoplights coming from the airport,” he said, jokingly.
[Source: Detroit Free Press]