Remember the furor created over the Mission Accomplished sign on the USS Abraham Lincoln when President Bush announced that major combat operations in Iraq had been concluded. President Bush actually said, “Thank you all very much. Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.”
When it turned out that there was still much to be done in Iraq, the press made a huge deal over the optics of the sign. Last week President Obama went to Michigan to brag about the recovery of the auto industry. Unfortunately, the plant will be closed because of low demand at the time of his speech. Optics? Where was the press?
Not to be discouraged in his narrative, Obama boasted of the economic recovery and the automotive sector’s success. One would think that speaking at a plant that’s closed due to low demand would be a little awkward, especially if you have set a goal a million of these hybrid vehicles on the road this year and you are more than 700,000 cars short of that goal.
The Optics of President Obama hailing the official end of the auto bailout as a roaring success, claiming that taxpayers recouped the $60 billion loaned out under his administration, at a closed plant has largely been ignored by the press.
The Treasury’s final reckoning, however, shows the bailout cost taxpayers about $9.26 billion, out of a total investment of around $80 billion between presidents George W. Bush and Obama, is also an underreported fact.
Bailouts: President Obama is going to Detroit Wednesday to brag about how he saved the U.S. auto industry. What he’s really doing is exposing the folly of his industrial policy.
Just days before Obama’s planned swing through Detroit, the Treasury Dept. reported that the final taxpayer cost of the auto industry bailout was $9.26 billion. That equals $441 for every single car and light truck that GM and Chrysler have sold since 2009.
That’s an awfully big price tag for Obama to claim bragging rights over.
Maybe the outsized bailout cost explains why Obama will give his talk at an assembly plant owned by Ford, which didn’t take any bailout money yet somehow managed to survive the recession.
Ford did, however, put its hand out for a $5.9 billion low-cost Department of Energy loan, which it used in part to convert that Wayne, Mich., plant from one that made popular SUVs to one that now makes politically correct hybrids and compacts.
The problem is that consumers have never been very interested in these kinds of cars, which is evidenced by the fact the plant will be idle when Obama visits. Slumping sales of the Focus and C-Max Hybrid models caused the plant to stop production for three weeks.
Small-car sales, in fact, are sagging across the board, while the market share of SUVs and pickups reached a nine-year high in December, according to Edmunds.
The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute found that the average fuel economy of vehicles sold in December was almost 3% lower than for cars sold in August.
And if gas prices remain low, automakers will find it harder still to sell fuel-efficient cars.
Not to worry, since Obama plans to force people into small cars in the near future.
In exchange for all that government aid, the auto industry gave Obama a green light to hike the federal “corporate average fuel economy” standard to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, which is double what it was just a few years ago.
To put the standard in perspective, not a single non-electric car on the road today gets 54.5 mpg. The closest is the Toyota Prius Hybrid at 50 mpg. Even the tiny Scion iQ gets only 37 miles to the gallon.
Read More At Investor’s Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/010615-733528-obama-brags-about-auto-bailout-at-idle-ford-plant.htm#ixzz3OfPdem7j