By Keith Laing
The federal government’s bailout of General Motors in 2008 and 2009 saved 1.2 million jobs, according to a new study released on Monday by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR).
Without the federal government’s decision to pump $50 billion into GM at the height of the 2008 and 2009 recession, millions of its employees would have been thrown out of work and the country would have missed out on $39.4 billion in tax collections, the authors of the study argued.
“If the U.S. government had refused to assist (GM and Chrysler) ... in a financial crisis of unprecedented proportions, then the whole U.S. economy was operating without a safety net, with the exception of course, of the banking system,” they continued.
The bailouts that were given to GM and Chrysler beginning at the end of former President George W. Bush’s administration emerged as a contentious issue in the 2012 presidential election.
Republicans criticized President Obama for continuing the bailouts after he took in 2009, even though the program first began under his GOP predecessor.
Democrats took credit for the bailout as the U.S. auto companies began performing better financially in 2011, sharply criticizing Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for opposing the assistance that was given to the car companies.
Democrats repeatedly referenced a 2008 op-ed Romney wrote in The New York Times that was titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," though Romney argued that he did not write the headline of the article and that it misrepresented his position on the bailout.
Romney argued that he was in favor of allowing the auto companies to go through a “managed bankruptcy,” but Democrats countered that the federal government was the only entity that was willing to put up the money to back up the company in the middle of the recession.