I saw the latest poll showing a growing number of Americans now feel the auto bailouts were a good idea that have, for the most part, paid off. These folks do not outnumber those who think the bailouts were a bad idea, but there's clearly been a shift in the opinion of many Americans. As soon as I saw the results of the survey done by Rasmussen Reports, I immediately thought of those who still e-mail me regularly complaining about the bailouts.
For the most part, this group includes two types of messages. 1) Those who hate the bailouts because it was government getting involved in private business. 2) Those who are against anything done by President Obama.
But there's something else about most people who e-mail me bashing the bailouts. A begrudging acceptance that the bailouts worked. Whether you are for or against them and how they were handled, most agree the bailouts succeeded in stabilizing the domestic auto industry and the manufacturing sector of the economy. More to the point, if GM and Chrysler were not guided into a controlled bankruptcy, there's plenty of evidence it would have been a major blow to the economy.
A year and a half after the bailouts, the auto industry continues to heal and add jobs. According to the White House, more than 75,000 jobs have been added to the auto industry since GM went into bankruptcy. And as auto sales rebound, we'll see more jobs coming to assembly plants, dealerships, transport companies.
Say what you will about how the bailouts were handled (and yes, there were many parts that were not handled well), it's clear a growing number of Americans think it was a move that worked.
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