“At 10:13 a.m. (Tuesday), Chrysler fully repaid the $7.6 billion in loans it owed the U.S. and Canadian governments.
The repayment comes more than six years sooner than required under an agreement reached in June 2009….
The Auburn Hills automaker, which few thought could rebound after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 30, 2009, received a total $12.5 billion in aid from the U.S. government under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, according to the U.S. Treasury.
With today’s transaction, the U.S. government has recovered more than $10.6 billion of that amount….
Even with the repayment of the loans, the U.S. government still holds a 6.6% ownership of Chrysler. The government could recover additional money when it sells its shares either through a public stock offering or by selling its stake to another investor.”
Of course, as Mitt Romney reminded us back in 2009:
“This is a very sad circumstance for this country, and it represents bad decisions by management, overreaching by the UAW. It’s really tragic in a lot of ways, and it has not been well-played either in my opinion by the Bush administration or the Obama administration.”
Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich were also highly critical of the bailout at the time. Gingrich cited the move as evidence that Obama is the most radical president in U.S. history, while Pawlenty complained on Fox News that “You’ve got big government, big business and big labor concocting a deal that reflects an economic model that is broken, that is 20 years out of date.” And as National Journal points out, they weren’t alone:
“While economists say the bailout saved tens of thousands of jobs, both Obama and President George W. Bush—who pushed out the first $25 billion of the bailout before he left office—faced stiff public resistance as it was rolled out.
A CNN poll in December 2008 found that 61 percent of Americans opposed the bailout; only 36 percent supported it. When Obama injected an additional $60 billion in the first months of his presidency, a Gallup poll found 72 percent opposing the additional money for the auto companies and only 25 percent in favor.”
It wasn’t popular at the time, and few people expected the rebound to come as quickly and completely as it has. (Chrysler, for example, reported profits of $116 million in the first quarter, and its sales are up 22.5 percent over a year ago.) But sometimes, doing the right thing pays off for everyone.
Well, almost everyone.
– Jay Bookman