The Obama administration’s Twitter Terminator, Jesse Lee, tweeted a link to this page this morning.
Chrysler’s repayment of its outstanding loans to the U.S. Treasury and American taxpayers marks a significant milestone for the turnaround of Chrysler and the countless communities and families who rely on the American auto industry. This announcement comes six years ahead of schedule and just two years after emerging from bankruptcy, allowing Chrysler to build on its progress and continue to grow as the economy recovers. Supporting the American auto industry required making some tough decisions, but I was not willing to walk away from the workers at Chrysler and the communities that rely on this iconic American company. I said if Chrysler and all its stakeholders were willing to take the difficult steps necessary to become more competitive, America would stand by them, and we did. While there is more work to be done, we are starting to see stronger sales, additional shifts at plants and signs of strength in the auto industry and our economy, a true testament to the resolve and determination of American workers across the nation.
Chrysler and the White House will celebrate the Detroit icon’s $5.9 billion repayment of government loans Tuesday in a ceremony that will be hailed by both sides for the same reason: The government bailout had become a liability for all concerned.
In fact, government-free Chrysler is hardly free of debt, but is simply refinancing with private rather than public debt-holders. For its part, the U.S. government will still have a 6.6 percent equity stake in Chrysler — but by removing itself as the company’s loan shark, the White House can boast of the unpopular bailout’s success in returning taxpayer loans six years ahead of schedule. That’s an important sound-bite in an election year.
But there is one inconvenient truth you won’t hear at today’s Sterling Heights, Mich., ceremony: Chrysler wouldn’t be here had it not defied its green White House masters. Chrysler’s return to profitability is a direct result of the fabulous success of its SUVs.
There’s more, and it’s well worth reading.