President Barack Obama has taken credit for the record profits of General Motors this week, after the largest US automaker reported it raked in $7.6 billion for 2011, the most ever, fueled largely by its North American operations, which accounted for $7.2 billion of the total.
In a campaign swing on the West Coast, where he addressed multimillionaire supporters at a series of private fundraising appearances and a union rally at the Boeing aircraft plant in Seattle, Washington, Obama sounded the same theme: that the GM profits vindicated his bailout of the auto industry in 2009.
He told an audience at an auditorium in Nob Hill, one of the most affluent neighborhoods of San Francisco, “Today, GM is back on top as the world’s number-one automaker. It just reported the highest profits in the 100-year history of that company.”
Obama made no direct reference to the most critical element of the “saving” of the auto industry: the White House intervention to impose a 50 percent wage cut on new hires at GM and Chrysler, along with cuts in healthcare benefits for active and retired GM workers, both union and non-union.