What did he know and when did he know it? For President Obama, that question isn’t about a scandal like Watergate, but about General Motors’ profits.
When the commander in chief came to visit GM and its smaller domestic rival, Chrysler, earlier in the month, did he know just how big the numbers would be for the second quarter? They certainly would have made it even easier to understand his seeming victory lap of Detroit, barely a year after the two manufacturers emerged from Chapter 11 protection.
While the numbers were nowhere near an industry record, the humbled giant still managed to put $1.3 billion in the bank, a whopping $14 billion swing from the second quarter of 2009. The turnaround is all the more dramatic when one considers that GM’s renewed profitability comes at a time when the United Auto Workers remains deep in the doldrums. Despite a modest upturn from last year’s ghastly numbers, 2010 sales are just about the worst the industry has seen since the Great Depression.