GM and Chrysler bleed jobs while Obama claims victory

Sam Foster Contributor
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No, it wasn’t the biggest whopper Obama’s ever told.  Last time I’ve checked, Obama has done nothing about sea levels.  It wasn’t his first embellishment about job creation during his “summer of recovery” tour.  All week Obama claimed to have saved GM and Chrysler?  Given the flagrantly un-American way in which Obama seized the two companies, it’s a tall-tale worth taking a moment to investigate.

Last Friday, Obama stepped off the plane in Michigan with a speech in hand and a government report chalked full of propaganda and creative numbers.  Obama proclaimed to a throng of autoworkers:

And we came up with a third way.  What we said was, if you’re willing to take the tough and painful steps necessary to make yourselves more competitive; if you’re willing to pull together workers, management, suppliers, dealers, everybody to remake yourself for changing times then we’ll stand by you and we’ll invest in your future.  Our strategy was to get this company and this industry back on its feet, taking a hands-off approach, saying you guys know the business, we don’t.  We’re going to give you a chance, but we do know you’ve got to change…

…Last year, many thought this industry would keep losing jobs, as it had for the better part of the past decade.  Today, U.S. automakers have added 55,000 jobs since last June, the strongest job growth in more than 10 years in the auto industry.  This plant just hired a new shift of 1,100 workers last week.

The first lie was an obvious one.  According to Obama’s own report, the statistic detailing the creation of 55,000 at US automakers was taken from the BLS, which shows that the increase in jobs over the year included all automaker manufacturing jobs in the US, not just US companies.  That means Toyota jobs, Hundai jobs, Ford jobs or any other job creation from an automaker so long as they were residing in America.  Did Obama nationalize Ford and foreign automakers as well?

Now that we’ve established that the entire industry created 55,000 American jobs over the last year, let’s compare government job creation in the auto industry (GM and Chrysler) against those of the privately owned companies (everyone else).  According to GM press releases, in April the company had added 7,500 jobs since the restructuring and 400 new volt jobs in July.  That’s nearly 8,000 jobs!  Now compare to the 10,000 jobs GM lost due to Obama’s forced bankruptcy restructuring.  Obama still has 2,000 jobs to go to break even.

Chrysler has a similar story.  One of the five plants Chrysler closed during its restructuring sent 1,200 to the unemployment line, while Obama touts the company’s single plant opening of 1,100 new jobs at his recent visit.  I haven’t even broached the subject of dealership job losses.

The truth about job creation in the auto industry points to a far different narrative than the one Obama demagogues.  This is really a story about how private businesses, despite their hardships, created new jobs while overcoming the negative job growth perpetuated by government owned companies.  This is in fact a real life allegory of conservative, free-market beliefs and one in which we still wait a happy ending.

While auto manufacturing job creation as a whole has added jobs over the last year, the private industry still has a long way to go to recover from the Obama Presidency.  Obama took over GM in March of 2009 when there were nearly 703,000 auto manufacturing jobs, but last June, job recovery has only rebounded to 681,000 jobs.  Clearly, Obama does not have a valid statistic to stand his policies upon, yet pretending job growth is more a filler for Obama’s speeches than his administration’s official stance on success of Obama.

The boilerplate rebuttal from all accusations of failure echoes familiar in Obama’s speech:

Independent estimates suggest that more than 1 million jobs could have been lost if Chrysler and GM had liquidated.  And in the middle of a deep recession, that would have been a brutal, irreversible shock not just to Detroit, not just to the Midwest, but to our entire economy.  So I refused to let that happen.

Lacking substantive evidence of any policy success, Obama and leftwing apologists have reduced their talking points to heralding a Hollywood style alternate reality; literally, copying the popular plot line in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” and inserting the absence of Obama policies as the linchpin that would have unraveled the universe.  Without Obama’s stimulus, your job would not exist.  Without Obama’s Health care plan, you would not be able to afford health care.  Without instigating a government takeover of two private, American companies, the entire auto industry would have dissolved.

It’s easy to construct such a defense.  Simply take what Obama says and create an Armageddon as the alternative.  How does this one sound?  If not for Obama, you’d be living in Waterworld.  Would you have a tough time selling that one to reasonable people?  What makes Obama think he can do any better?

Sam Foster is a contributor for the blog Left Coast Rebel and editor of Upstate Political Report.