George W. Bush defending his $17.4 billion bailout of the U.S. auto industry

Article by Christian A., on November 9, 2010

In an advanced copy of the memoir of George W. Bush, the former President defended his $17.4 billion bailout of the US auto industry, according to The Detroit News. It reported that Bush had known on Nov. 11, 2008 that he would bail out Chrysler and General Motors, just four days after GM announced it was on the brink of bankruptcy.

In this book, Bush disclosed that the decision to bail out the struggling automakers was made earlier than people believed. According to this memoir, Bush informed then President-elect Barack Obama about his decision several days before the advisers were told.

When Bush decided to “save American workers and families from widespread collapse,” he didn’t overlook his successor in making the choice. Bush wrote that he didn’t want to “dump this mess” on Obama and that he told his successor that he won’t let the automakers fail. Bush also revealed that he was in support of the $25 billion retooling plan that the automakers wanted but Senate Republicans had shot this down.

To get around this obstacle that the Congress presented, Bush instead diverted funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, initially meant to save Wall Street. Bush revealed that he was extremely frustrated with the situation, explaining that the restrictive short-terms were “better” than an outright bailout.

He said that he would have preferred that the bailout not be his last major economic decision but he claims that he didn’t have much choice. [via autonews - sub. required]

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