auto bailout

8:25AM
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Ontario had to write-off $1 billion of taxpayer money from the General Motors/Chrysler bailout.

12:56PM
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Ontario and Michigan may fund corporate welfare on both sides of the border.

2:00AM
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Back in June 2009, the federal and Ontario governments decided to use massive amounts of taxpayer cash to rescue General Motors and Chrysler, two corporations deemed too big to fail. The cost to Canadians was US$13.7 billion: $10.8 billion to GM and $2.9 billion to Chrysler.

The taxpayer bailout was part of the court-supervised restructuring process for the two companies, egged on by the Obama administration. Behind the scenes, the White House made clear that any restructured versions of the companies might leave Canada if taxpayers in this country did not ante up.


2:00AM
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With sales and profits up at General Motors, proponents of the 2009 automotive bailout for GM (and Chrysler) now assert the taxpayer-financed rescue was a success. In a visit to Michigan in late January, U.S. president Barack Obama argued the deal saved jobs. Canadian politicians, including Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who last summer incorrectly asserted taxpayers received all their money back, have made similar boasts.

Given the revisionist history in play, let’s place that 2009 deal in proper context.

2:00AM
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Milton Friedman once said his greatest fear about the 1979 bailout of Chrysler by the U.S. federal government was not that it would fail, but that it would succeed. Friedman didn’t mean he was wrong to oppose it. What concerned him was how Chrysler’s rescue (approved by the U.S. Congress in late 1979 and signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in 1980) might lead some to draw the wrong conclusion: the notion that such actions save jobs, among other illusions.