Romney Changes Mind on Auto Bailout
In a NYT op-ed entitled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” Mitt Romney argues that Congress should let creative destruction do its job.
IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.
Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.
I agree wholeheartedly. Funny thing is, though, when he was vying for votes in the Michigan primary — which he ultimately won — he was saying something rather different. A January 13 NYT piece titled “McCain and Romney Tangle Over Job Losses in Michigan” tells the story:
Mr. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts whose father was president of American Motors in the 1950s and ’60s, insisted that the auto industry can be revived and blamed Congress and Mr. McCain for ignoring Michigan’s problems.
“The question is, where is Washington?” Mr. Romney said, speaking to a gaggle of reporters across from a General Motors transmission plant near Ypsilanti, where 200 layoffs were announced this week. “Where does it stop? Is there a point at which someone says ‘enough’? Or are we going to allow the entire domestic automotive manufacturing industry to disappear?”
In Warren, Mr. McCain said he would be “ashamed” to tell voters that the lost jobs would return to Michigan, but he vowed to take care of displaced workers through a promised job retraining program that would be offered through community colleges. “We are a Judeo-Christian values nation,”Mr. McCain told the group at the town hall in Warren. “We cannot leave people behind.”
What a difference a campaign makes.