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Chrysler's bailout: Not repaid, not needed

May 26. 2011 8:59PM

In Manchester on Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden said of the government's Chrysler bailout, 'Yesterday, Chrysler paid it all back - six years early.' No, it didn't.

The United States government wrote off some of Chrysler's debt from its $12.5 billion bailout. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has acknowledged that the taxpayers will not recoup $1.9 billion of the bailout. Once again, the White House is being fast and loose with the facts.

But the bailout saved jobs, right? Here is The Detroit News: 'Chrysler's resurrection has not been painless: During its descent and bankruptcy, tens of thousands of jobs were lost, four plants were closed and 749 dealerships were shuttered.' Maybe Chrysler would have completely gone under without the bailout. Or maybe Fiat, which bought 20 percent of Chrysler and another 10 percent this year, would have bought all of it. Maybe other investors would have. We don't know.

The Chrysler bailout was sold as necessary. In reality it was a bailout of choice in which the government transferred wealth from the taxpayers to unions, which now own 46 percent of the company. It was a payoff for a major Democratic constituency, done with your money - nearly $2 billion of which you won't get back. Congratulations.


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