Channel | Auto Industry News

Obama Acknowledges Anger Over Bank, Auto Bailouts

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama acknowledged the government’s $85 billion auto industry bailout had angered some Americans.

In a wide-ranging speech on the economy today, Obama said the government’s rescue of General Motors Co., Chrysler Group LLC and their finance arms — along with dozens of major financial institutions — had been deeply unpopular, reported The Detroit News.

“Some of the very steps that were necessary to save the economy — like temporarily supporting the banks and the auto industry — fed the perception that Washington is still ignoring the middle class in favor of special interests,” Obama told a crowd in Cleveland. “And so people are frustrated and angry and anxious about the future.”

Over the last six weeks, Obama has repeatedly touted the success of GM and Chrysler and the saving of more than 1 million jobs in rescuing both companies from collapse and putting them through bankruptcy last year.

Late last month, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., sharply criticized GM and another bailout recipient, AIG, and reiterated that Congress should never have approved funding to allow the automaker to win a bailout.

“They may be celebrating in GM and AIG’s boardrooms, but the taxpayers don’t have much to be happy about. We still have tens of billions of dollars at stake in these companies, and we are still months or years away from getting our money back,” Kirkpatrick said. “This is a perfect example of why government shouldn’t be bailing out corporations.”

Obama also reiterated his push to keep green jobs in the United States.

“We see a future where we invest in American innovation and American ingenuity; where we export more goods so we create more jobs here at home; where we make it easier to start a business or patent an invention; where we build a homegrown, clean energy industry — because I don’t want to see new solar panels or electric cars or advanced batteries manufactured in Europe or Asia,” Obama said, according to a copy of his prepared remarks made available by the White House. “I want to see them made right here in America, by American workers.”

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