I have met many Chevy lovers in my day, a good number of dedicated Cadillac drivers, guys who swear by Dodge Ram trucks and even a Buick fan or two. But as convinced as these folks are of the superiority of the brand they drive I have never met anyone who said, "It's either a Caddy or Birkenstocks for me". No one I know would buy a pair of roller skates if they couldn't get a Chevy. None of the Ram truck guys I met in the Dakotas would opt for a mule if it came down to that or a Ford.
So how is it that our projected net outlay of $59 billion (the $14 billion the White House admits to plus the $45 billion in tax breaks for GM they like to keep on the QT) to keep GM and Chrysler alive saved a single job – let alone the "million jobs" Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad claims it saved?
A writer for CNN – the Obama administration's public relations arm – said "Had GM and Chrysler collapsed, it would have cost the federal government about $28.6 billion in lost tax revenues and assistance to the unemployed in just the first two years alone." He went on to crow, "By the way, that $28.6 billion figure doesn't include the business taxes the federal government would have lost but can now expect from two large, profitable automakers and their suppliers. It also doesn't include any lost state and local tax revenue."
It seems to me that JD Power would be projecting US auto sales in 2011 to be 12.9 million whether we bailed those guys out or not. Those Chevy and Dodge buyers would have had to buy something else, as sorrowful as that might be for them. Every car and truck sold by the bailed out companies would have been sold by Ford, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai or one of the other car companies. Any taxes paid by the freeloading companies would have been paid from the increased profits from one of the other companies. (And let's not hear about them being American companies and most of the others being foreign owned. The average Toyota has more American content than a Chevrolet)
The bailout didn't save a single job – it just moved the jobs around. Instead of new jobs in Dearborn, Georgetown or Marysville, the Feds forced the jobs into GM and Chrysler locations. The local tax revenues the bailout 'saved' in Michigan came at the expense of tax revenues in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia and a lot of southern states where cars are made.
At the end of the day, the big winner from the bailout was the UAW. The bailout kept them in existence. Had it not occurred, those 'saved' jobs would have been mostly in non-union plants, leaving the UAW with only Ford. A shrinking union with only one evil capitalist to battle isn't much of a union. And it didn't hurt any to preserve jobs in rabidly pro-Obama Michigan, instead of letting the jobs go to places like South Carolina, Georgia and Texas where the flow of money to Democrats is barely a trickle.
All tolled the auto bailout cost every American man, woman and child almost $200 each. Strikes me as pretty crappy for the administration to levy a $200 fine on all of us to prop up the UAW and lie to America calling it 'job creation' when 9.2% of the people who have to pay the phony job creation/UAW prop-up tax don't have jobs at all.