Monday, May 16, 2011

Can The GM Bailout Save Obama?

The Democrats change campaign strategies like most people change their socks. Obama is doing that too. His latest strategy calls for using the GM bailout to sway us all over to his side -- especially those of us living in rustbelt states. Good luck with that! Here's why this is one of his stupider ideas:

Point 1: Obama Didn’t Do It: Right out of the gates, this one is a bit of a laugher. The auto bailouts began under George W. Bush. Sure, Obama finished it, but this is a bit like crediting Truman for his decision to take on the Nazis. And how ironic is it that Obama, who loves to blame Bush for all of his own failures, should not be planning to steal Bush’s “achievements.”

Point 2: Americans Hate The Auto Bailout: Obama really thinks the public will respond to his claiming credit for the GM bailout. Yet, polls show the public hates the auto bailout. They have from the very beginning and they continue to do so today. Indeed, as recently as one month ago, Rasmussen found that 57% of Americans continue to say the bailout was a mistake and another 44% of Americans said they are less likely to buy a car from GM because of the bailout. But then, the percentage of Americans who oppose the bailout is down a full 7% in three years. . . maybe Obama thinks that’s a “trend”?

More importantly, this bailout was in place before the November 2010 elections and the Democrats got massacred in the rustbelt states. What’s changed since then to make Obama think this will be a better selling point now?

Point 3: The Bailout Didn’t Really Work: It’s hard to see how the bailout worked. Sure, GM is still there, but (1) 334,000 manufacturing jobs vanished despite the bailout, (2) 10,000 dealerships were closed, dealerships that employed 500,000 people, and (3) one quarter of US factory capacity to build automobiles was lost. . . i.e. rustbelt factories closed.

At least GM has been profitable for a year now. Of course, that happened because of dealer incentives -- the same tactic that ruined the big three in the first place. Also, the reason GM is profitable has nothing to do with the bailout, it has to do with GM filing bankruptcy and getting billions of dollars in debt discharged. In fact, GM could have gone straight into bankruptcy without the bailout funds and things would have turned out identically for GM. . . though the UAW wouldn’t have gotten taxpayer funds to cover their health and pension plans.

But what about the bailout money? When it was given to GM, we were told that it would all be paid back. . . every cent. Then we were told that GM had in fact paid it all back, only that wasn’t quite true because GM paid it back with TARP money. Basically, they borrowed taxpayer money to pay back debts to the taxpayers and then they acted like we should be happy.

In exchange for the TARP money, we got an ownership interest. And right before the election, Little Timmy Geithner and Joey "the liar" Biden announced to the world that we would indeed be making a profit on our “investment” in GM! Hurray! Vote Democratic! Of course, that wasn’t true either. GM stock has hovered near its IPO price since it went public again. GM’s stock price must get above $40 a share before we break even. It closed at $31 on Friday. . . 25% below the price we need. If the Treasury sells today, they would lose $17 billion to $20 billion of the $86 billion “invested”. . . and keep in mind that right now the market is likely at a multi-year high and will head south.

So what exactly can Obama trumpet here? What you’re going to hear are fantasy numbers. There are leftwing economists who have already speculated that the bailout saved millions of jobs and will make all of America’s kids 5% smarter and 2.4% more attractive. But this is bunk. These numbers, like the $3.5 million jobs "created, saved or made up," are just mindless applications of discredited Keynesian formulas that bear no relationship to what actually happened.

The real story of the bailout is the one above, and people get that. So good luck selling this one Mr. President.

BONUS ROUND: What do you think should be Obama's next sales pitch? He kept us out of war with Mexico? He didn't try to save the Yen? New York hasn't been blown up yet? Come on, let's give the guy a little help. . .


Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - it amazes what this guy says and gets away with (by most of the press.) For one thing, when I think of GM bailout, I think unions, and that is a huge turnoff. It also bothers me to see my tax dollars paying for all those product placements on network t.v. shows (If you don't believe check out, say, Hawaii 50 tonight and see what McGarrett and the folks are driving.)

I think he has made an equally stupid campaign issue with his "late to the party; drill baby drill" line. The only problem with any of this is that it does appeal on an elemental level to a certain portion of the populace. Thankfully, that element is not particularly smart and doesn't vote unless specifically energized.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, It is amazing that the press so shamefully lets him get away with whatever he wants to say without ever pointing out that it's all BS.

The thing is I don't think any of this will help him. Even if the press dutifully reports that billions of jobs were saved, no one will believe it. The public knows better and the public hasn't warmed to this deal (or to Obama). And I think he's making a huge mistake by trying to sell the public something it already firmly does not believe.

I agree that GM is wasting our money too. They should have been allowed to fail so that Ford and whoever else could be stronger companies.

DUQ said...

Obama's next sales pitch should be "he didn't completely destroy the country!"

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, That sounds as effective as anything else he's got.

Right now it sounds like he's trying to wake up his base. Blacks were last week, unions are this week. Gays will probably be next week. Then he'll run trying to attack the Republicans. But he can't do this, this election will be about his record and little else unless the Republicans really pick a bozo. So he better find something to sell to the public.

Unknown said...

The GM bailout was the most expensive shell game in American history. Any Republican candidate who can make it clear that GM's profits and repayment are all smoke and mirrors designed to protect the unions and screw everybody else will have a winning position.

Obama's campaign slogan: "He stinks, but he got bin Laden."

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I just can't see how Obama is planning to spin this into a positive. It didn't work and nobody likes it. So what in the world makes him think the public will suddenly say "gee, he did that? Wow, I think I'll vote for him."

I get the feeling the bin Laden things is wearing thin too. I see no evidence that it's gotten him any traction whatsoever.

StanH said...

Barry’s toast! All we have to do is put up an unabashed conservative, that doesn’t drool on him or herself, and the nightmare that is Barry, is over. Then the hard work of repairing this Marxist mess begins, possibly decades.

Barry slogan: I don’t suck as much as the other guy.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I hate jumping the gun and getting my hopes up, but I think you're right. I think he's got nothing to say and people have stopped listening to him. At this point, the only thing that can save him is if we choose a total fool to run. And with Trump out of the race, the odds of that go down.

Could you imagine if we choose Caine?! Imagine the debates! Caine would wipe the floor with Obama's butt!

Unknown said...

Andrew: I think w'ere used to dealing with people like our readers who actually think. Most "undecided" voters react, and if they think at all, they think in terms of bumper sticker slogans. How can anyone possibly be "undecided" about this president? So I really think the GM thing gets traction with the left and the unions that he has to reassure, and does little harm with the general "undecided" public. And we have to remember that Obama himself has no understanding whatsoever about how business works, and he's pandering to the unwashed left, so there will actually be some enthusiasm in those quarters. He's not trying to win votes, he's trying not to lose any more than he already has.

The bin Laden thing is good for a laugh, but it will get him nothing in the general election. Even if he actually was instrumental in the killing (which I doubt), it will have faded by election time. As you said, the election is going to be about the economy not about dead terrorists. If he continues on his present course, Afghanistan will be the quagmire he himself predicted, and his national security ratings will continue their usual downward spiral. But if he were to wipe out the Taliban, stabilize Afghanistan and avoid a disaster elsewhere in the Middle East, it will all mean nothing if American unemployment is still at 9% a year from now. Even some of those "undecideds" have figured out that you can't print money and spend your way out of a major recession.

Notawonk said...

the minute gm got the bailout $$, we decided to not buy a gm product. i would find it hard to believe others didn't feel the same.

Bonus round: barry is gonna save our immigrant nation from not turning our backs, and hearts, on the millions of illegals that are draining the system.

you'll see! after all, he's a navy seal doll now, he can do ANYTHING!

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I agree. I think he's playing to his left flank right now, trying to keep them from abandoning. He knows that usually most people aren't listening to what he says, so it's generally harmless for him to pander to his base right now.

Although, as an aside, I have to wonder how the internet has changed this formula, i.e. I wonder if people are more aware now.

I also have to wonder if he can afford to do this since the public already doesn't like him or if this will only cement the "doesn't get it" label?

I agree foreign policy means nothing in an election where the economy is weak.... and employment won't improve before the election -- all of the negative stimuli are still out there with more being added every day. So the bin Laden thing is at best an applause line. But again, he better be careful not to excite our side, who see him as taking credit for things he hindered rather than helped.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, I don't even want to know about the Navy Seal doll. I see Obama more as a Walrus than a Seal.

I know several people who will not buy GM products on principle because of the bailout. I would say that applies to me, but I already wasn't buying GM because of quality and design issues. Still, I can toss that onto the list too! :-)

Ed said...

Andrew, I agree completely, this is a joke. I guess he's talking to his base, but even they need to know this didn't work.

Maybe his new slogan should be "Obama, after four years of golfing, he's rested and ready to be your President!"

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I don't think anything he's going to do is going to work. He needs a fresh start, but it's too late to get that and he doesn't even realize he's got a problem. He thinks everything is to blame except himself and his policies.

I like your slogan... Obama, Rested, Relaxed, Ready to Work!

Ed said...

By the way, I'm really glad that Trump and Huckabee are out of the race. Who do you think this helps?

StanH said...

From your mouth to Gods ears Andrew, Cain debating Barry would be a joy to behold.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, Trump being out helps the "second tier" guys who should now be able to get publicity by stepping up the rhetoric.

Huckabee being out... I'm not sure. It could help Palin if she jumps in. If not, it depends on how his supporters break. I suspect it will help Pawlenty. The guy it hurts the most is Romney.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I would be thrilled to watch that! In fact, I'd even pay to see it on pay per view! I can just see Caine making a fool of Barry over and over as Barry sputters and stares at the notes he wrote in his palm... :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, You know what, if I were black, I would absolutely want to see that too, to show the difference between a competent/brilliant black man and an idiot, so that people don't start thinking that Obama actually represents the better end of black talent.

In fact, the only people who would hate it would be white liberals who would see their plantation burst into flames.

StanH said...

Oh my goodness, Herman Cain can think and speak on his feet, Barry would be stuttering incomprehensively, um…um…um…revealing the inexperienced fool that he is, it would be great fun.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, It would go down as one of the greatest debates in history (even leaving aside the historical curiosity of having two blacks running for President). It would be like Reagan whipping Mondale combined with the total route feel of a 40-0 Super Bowl! They would make movies about this one. :-)

Ed said...

Stan and Andrew, They would give this debate a name like with a heavy weight fight. This one would be: "Caine vs. Not Able."

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, Very nice! LOL! How about.... "The Patriot and the Fool."

StanH said...

The liberal moderators would have to save their boy king continuously.

AndrewPrice said...

Oh, absolutely. I could see Dan Rather or Gwen Whatshername almost jumping out of their chairs and going after Caine. They'd have no choice because Caine would wipe him out.

I could actually see Obama canceling the debates... certainly the rematches.

StanH said...

Gwenn Eiffel. It wouldn’t surprise if the left didn’t cancel the debates out of fear, good point.

AndrewPrice said...

That's her name. I can't believe McCain accepted her as a neutral moderator... just more proof that McCain never got it.

The more I think about it, the more I think they probably would find a reason not to have the debates because there is no way Obama could even look competent.

Man, this actually excites me about the election! Come on electorate, don't let me down.... no squishies! :-)

StanH said...

The picture of our effete Barry standing next to that alpha male, Herman Cain would be stark indeed.

AndrewPrice said...

We need to find a way to make sure this happens! This could be one of those great moments in American history!

StanH said...

I like Cain a lot, but it’s early, we’ll see. In my opinion he’ll get better as he goes on, this does not bode well for the Republican field, and will send Barry into hysterics. But, just to see the debate would be worth the price of admission, man…it does make one salivate.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I'm honestly not sure yet either who I will support -- that's why I'm going through the candidates. All I can say for sure is that right now, Caine is the best of those I've looked at and some of the others are truly horrible.

What really frustrates me right now is that none of them seem to want it. Why won't any of them stand up and start throwing punches? It's like they all want to sneak into the Presidency unnoticed. That's pathetic. That's why Trump was getting traction -- because he stepped into a huge vacuum.

StanH said...

You can bet, as Cain gets traction, he’ll punch, and counterpunch. He’ll do it with zeal, and informed professionalism, this man is nobody’s dunce. The beltway, and the chattering class will hate him, for me that’s a stamp of approval. People mustn’t fall for the conventional wisdom, it’s useless to really change things in Washington.

AndrewPrice said...

I agree, any candidate who won't put up a fight now will never put up a fight if elected.

What I like about Cain (whoops, no "e") is both that he fights, but also that he has tremendous experience fixing things like companies. That means he's made the kinds of decisions that need to be made -- the hard kind that affect people. I don't agree with him on everything, but he strikes me as a guy who would very willingly work with the conservative Republicans to change the government and the very way it does business. I don't get that feeling from several of the others, who I think would slide right into the K Street way of business as usual.

StanH said...

Well put Andrew, that sums it up nicely, we do have a dark horse, his own words by the way at the Tea Party convention Nashville. A self made, pull yourself up by your own bootstraps kind of guy, very American, Barry’s nightmare. Oh yeah, and he’s black…who cares.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, regarding the media collusion in all this, this little factoid might be useful to keep in mind:

In short, Zakaria--shockingly, given his renowned reputation as a completely impartial and unbiased reporter--seems to have been "advising" Obama privately for some time. Of course, this isn't surprising in the least, but it's worth keeping in mind the next time he opens his mouth. (Zakaria, not Obama--well, actually maybe both)

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, You're not supposed to think that way... remember, you're a conservative, you're supposed to be racist.

Every time a conservative isn't racist, a liberal cries! ;-)

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Thanks for the link. In truth, I think the evidence of media coordination is overwhelming.

1. Think back to the journolist scandal, which showed leftist journalists were working together and no other journalists were willing to report that.

2. Look at the number of Democrats who go into the media or are married to media people.

3. Look at ABC moving into the White House and how easily the mingle at dinners, etc.

The Zakaria thing just doesn't surprise me at this point. In fact, I all but assumed it.

There's just no way they could all write the same articles on the same days over and over if they weren't working together.

Here's your link: LINK

T-Rav said...

Andrew, it doesn't surprise me either in this case; it's just kind of hilarious that Spitzer (and probably others) was telling Zakaria a couple days ago how cool it was that he and POTUS were buddy-buddy, and now they're all spinning their wheels trying to make him sound all impartial and everything. Lovely.

Speaking of media manipulation and all, what do you know about the site being offline last week? Because now I'm starting to think there in fact was something really screwy going on.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Journalistic ethics are almost nonexistent these days, so it probably didn't even dawn on them that anyone would question his impartiality. Now they need to resort to spin to save their butts now that they've been exposed.

I don't think there was anything suspicious in our shutdown. . . except I think I saw Joe Biden in our computer room with a hammer?!

Actually, my money is on sabotage by Facebook! What are you thinking?

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I doubt it was Joe Biden...I can't believe the White House would let him anywhere near a hammer. Or anything else capable of causing physical harm, for that matter, down to and including paper clips. (snort)

More seriously, though, this got my attention over the weekend and I would have mentioned it earlier, but end-of-semester stuff got in the way. Anyhoo, apparently a law professor name of Ann Althouse, who has been using Blogger as well--she's of conservative persuasion and was all over the Wisconsin protests--got reported to Blogger by some viewer for "misogyny" and "homophobia". No idea what that in itself was about; it was probably someone being an idiot, but then Google up and shut the thing down, on the pretext that the blog counted as spam. And it seems that this went down last week, at the same time that the site here got messed up; a number of other blogs appear to have had issues then too. Then, a lot of people who were making complaints to the Google support page about the blog's shutdown got locked out of their accounts, and another blogger, Patterico, got his Gmail account deleted altogether. There's no smoking gun here as far as Commentarama is concerned, but I smell a rat.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I too doubt they let him anywhere near a hammer. In fact, he probably has to wear big thick mittens around the White House.

In truth, I doubt this was political. I go to a lot of bloggers sites that aren't political and they were all down this weekend. Plus, it fits the pattern of how things like this have happened in the past.

(1) Blogger makes some change.
(2) Random things start going wrong, like comments vanish or widgets stop working. We had a couple problems for almost a week before it all blew up.
(3) People complain.
(4) Blogger denies that they caused it.
(5) The problems get worse.
(6) Blogger continues to deny it caused the problem but then announces some routine maintenance.
(7) All hell breaks loose blogger-wide.
(8) Things mostly fix themselves for most people seemingly without explanation.
(9) Things blow up horribly for some people.
(10) Blogger pretends nothing happened and denied it did anything.
(11) Blogger admits that it made a change, but it denies that this changed caused the chaos or that the elimination of the change fixed the chaos.

Apparently the "blog deleted as spam" issue happens all the time and people are furious on the help boards (blogger doesn't have an official help area). Ditto on accounts getting deleted. I think it's just blogger incompetence.

So while it's possible this was politically motivated, it's more likely that it's just coincidence combined with incompetence.

That's why you need to back up all the time.... unfortunately, the backup system can't handle a blog of our size. Ug.

T-Rav said...

So, Andrew, what you're saying is, I now have to include you in my conspiracy theory? Groan...

That the site got shut down doesn't make me suspicious, and in and of itself, the spam thing isn't a big deal. What does get me wondering is the fact that people who were complaining about the Althouse blog's removal suddenly got locked out of their accounts hours later or got deleted altogether. Google is, after all, overwhelmingly composed of Democrats.

Eh...maybe it's nothing. I'm loopy tonight after being up yesterday grading and all that. But I'm suspicious. Maybe I'll take another look at it when my head is clear. (berates self for blogging while half-awake)

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I am NOT part of any conspiracy. There is NO conspiracy. Repeat after me, there is NO conspiracy... you didn't see nothin!

But as a completely unrelated aside.... I've got my eye on you! ;-)

In truth, I actually don't doubt political retaliation based on what you've outlined. I should have been more clear. I'm just talking about the total shut down of blogger -- that was incompetence, not conspiracy.

Deleting accounts of a group of people who complain does sound like retaliation and it would not surprise me in the least if Google took such actions as political retribution. Google is highly political and shown that they do not respect the rights of private citizens in any country. In fact, Google is a bad player in the world and its people are routinely getting caught doing all kinds of nasty and illegal things.

Unknown said...

Hey Jed where are the jobs. There aren't any because we are still in a financial crisis because greed still rules - check the executives' pay vs the workers' pay AND gas price. I hope you will celebrate when the capitalists finish off our country. I'll join you at the soup kitchen if there is anyone left to fund it.

Also would it be great if the USA hgad less automobile companys compared with France.

AndrewPrice said...

Terry, Spite is not an effective policy and hating people who have more than you doesn't help.

In terms of having more or less car companies that France, who cares. Are we in a competition with France? Does the winner of "most car companies" get a prize? The reality is that we would be better off with 1-2 strong car companies than three car companies making more cars than the market can absorb.

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