• Oct 26, 2009
When Former President George W. Bush spoke to the Montreal Board of Trade recently, he made a public appeal to the Obama administration to "get out of the private sector," adding "I hope our government gets out of the autos and the financials in which they have a stake." His premise is that it takes private companies to turn an economy around, not government-run ones.

As we have found out during America's recent economic troubles, a lot of people find it easy to say a lot of things when they're not on the hook. And the former Commander-in-Chief isn't the first (nor the only) ex-President to offer such advice; they've all done it – he's only the most recent. But this is coming from the man whose VP sold him out as giving TARP money to prevent General Motors and Chrysler bankruptcies on his watch. Lest we forget, Bush is also the man who said:
"Well, I have obviously made a decision to make sure the economy doesn't collapse. I've abandoned free market principles to save the free market system. I think when people review what's taken place in the last six months, uh, and put it all in one, in one, (sigh), you know, in one package, they're realize how significantly we have moved."
Forget about politics, it isn't even that what Bush has said is wrong, per se – by most accounts, the American government shouldn't be in the car business nor the retail banking business, and the current administration agrees with that, having said repeatedly it wants to get out of both. But they inherited the issue, and now it's up to them to figure out the best way out of it. Hat tip to Avinash!

[Source: Bloomberg | Image: Getty]


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  • 108 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      You say "Forget about politics..." But then said "they inherited the issue, and now it's up to them to figure out the best way out of it."

      You've made it political. Don't even pretend that you didn't.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If I recall correctly, Bush reason for giving TARP money to GM/Chrysler was simple, the administration did not have enough time to see the process through and their short evaluation concluded that, they needed more time. So they choose to put on a band aid until a new administration came and took a hard look at the situation.

      As for saving the free market system, the Jury is still out. I do not think its Obama’s intent to keep the Feds invested in the private sector. They will eventually get out.

      I also believe you are probably taking what the Former president said out of context.
      Right now Banks can get out of the Tarp system by paying back the Feds money, with interest and GM intends to go public in 2010.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If Bush would have done his job right we wouldn't had to invest in any company.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You've got two czars so far that have spoken in favor of Mao Tse Tung, saying he was the greatest philosopher of the century and claiming that the free market was a farce - that it didn't serve the interests of the people.

        The words 'government involvement' and "temporary' combined is without question to an oxymoron.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Scott, you are wrong. The Free Market system within the confines of a republican democracy has produced the most prosperous society the human race has ever known. Where the poor own cars and two or three television sets and are obese due to too much food. Drive to a Salvation Army shop and see “used items” donated as not needed.
        This place is known as the United State of America.

        I know, I came from another place. Have you lived here for so long as to get blinded by ignorant ideology?

        America is a good place; do not let stupid ideologues change it into just another failed bureaucratic country. Please. I beg of you.
      • 5 Years Ago
      FACT. There is no such thing as a free market economy. Like it or not big business NEEDS government. Everyone talks about the market, but few actually in the free market.
      Government grants, tax concessions, interest free loans, etc, etc, etc.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You would be correct in that there is not technically a free market economy. Capitalism is oftened misquoted as being free market when they are technically 2 different things.

        Free market economies are based on the idea of having only the buyer and seller indicate price for exchange of commodities or service.

        Capitalism is the economic theory of the exchange of capital between entities. In the United States, capitalism is always at work, it can just be skewed towards one group or another by either intervention by the government or by oligopolistic or monopolistic entities ("corporatism"). When there is skew, it gets away from "free market" principles.

        At the end of the day though, big business does not need government or vice versa...but, they do play well together. Big business receives the benefits the most of government policies that are in their favor (just because of their size) and the government benefits from their taxes. Big business benefits from government contracting, government benefits from having more money left over from the outsourcing of a project (and the over taxing of the populace) to fund other work. Its all a vicious cycle. The only difference is, big business can change more rapidly than government and has more incentive to listen to consumers (you don't make what we want, you will go out of business); the government, except when its time to get re-elected, does not have to listen. Unless of course, you can get a bailout :-)...then you never have to go away.
        • 5 Years Ago
        it doesn't need it (big business to government), I don't know where you got this notion, but it's ass-backwards.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why is there a personal political message in this entry? First off, there are issues with both the Bush and Obama administrations. There's no need for a personal feeling at the end...

      GM and Chrysler failed because they failed themselves, and the government helped in other ways, too.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I am not a fan of GWB, but Obama is taking it too far. He now mandates pay, risk taking and type of products companies should produce.

      If that wasn't enough he also forces companies to offer healthcare, pay more in payroll taxes and wants to make it much easier to unionize.

      I voted for Obama, but i did not vote for this.
        • 5 Years Ago
        whoever be the PSDT it will be the samething,the
        system has gone too far,general trends.
        • 5 Years Ago
        might i remind you who got us into this mess in the first place?
        Things happened because of a lack of regulation.
        Why are we complaining when the administration is trying to prevent that and to try to make Americans healthier in the long run???
        • 5 Years Ago
        "failure should have been allowed"

        Yeah, tell that to the faces of the additional hundreds of thousands of people you would have put out of work.

        Better get started now, eh?
        • 5 Years Ago
        There is a fine line between mainstream (neocon) Republicans or Democrats once in power...

        With the current crop of politicians (save a very few with principles) in the halls of the US Gov't...the left/right paradigm in US Politics is but a myth.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Inb4politicswar
        • 5 Years Ago
        I kind of agree with you.

        Obama administration wants to get out of the auto business and banking sector asap. But, they need a proper exit strategy.

        My guess would be that it is easier to get out of the banking sector since they are returning the money they borrowed.

        Obama administration put in more than 30B dollars into GM. I don't think we would be getting back that money any time soon.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Agreed.

        As for the premise that "it takes private companies to turn an economy around, not government-run ones...." is that kinda like how it takes private revolutions to turn a Middle Eastern dictatorship around, not government-run ones?

        (outb4flamewar)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Bush administration had to pay GM and Chrysler (put a band-aid) cause they did not wanted these companies to die when he was in-charge. Everybody would have put the blame on him for the collapse of the auto industry. He did the right thing by providing a bridge loan to survive.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sea, you're a joke. Voting for Obama, is vote for this. It is either the left, or the right, that ultimately succeeds in America, thats why McCain has his presidential dream destoryed 2 times, deservingly.

        (even though choosing Sarah Palin as VP was the best thing he ever done as a politician in USA)

        Did you not hear about how Obama is friends with basically every famous anti-USA personality in America? How he is friends during his early political career with the domestic terrorist? and you are surprised with everything that Obama is doing today? wow...

        See, if John McCain started his political career in the living room of an abortion clinic bomber, I would then vote for him.

        I'm not happy to see Obama is the president, but I am DAMN happy McCain is not the president.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Bull! I hate when people say they voted for Obama, but not for this! Obama made his wishes clear during his whole campaign. Change, change and more change. He is doing exactly what he said he would be doing....from the gov. run health care, to the constant handouts for those lacking intelligence and the desire to earn their living opposed to taking money from others. I voted for McCain b/c I followed the campaign and actually interpreted what Obama said he was wanting to do in laymen's terms. You did vote for this! Obama has not pulled any bait and switch on you guys. Maybe next election season you will actually do some research on the effects such liberal crap has on people.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "I voted for Obama, but i did not vote for this."

        I hear that a lot nowadays.



        Then you are morons for not researching the candidate you voted for. Nothing in Obama's history indicated he would do anything different than what he has done already. In fact, I'm only surprised he hasnt pushed for more.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "I voted for Obama, but i did not vote for this."

        I hear that a lot nowadays.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Bottom line: Bush dumped TARP money on two auto makers to keep them alive while the admin changed hands. Not saying he was wrong in doing so but, there should have been some oversight. Obama comes into the mess and has no real choice but to bail out GM and Chrysler. Once they did that, the gov't HAD to take a stake since there's no way either company could hope to survive if they had to carry such huge debt. Now that the gov't (meaning us taxpayers) is stuck with having to be involved, they (the gov't) are also stuck with having to make sure we will get our money back.
      Face it, all you right-wingers just want to bitch and moan about Obama. If you're not part of the solution, at least stop being part of the problem.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "might i remind you who got us into this mess in the first place?
      Things happened because of a lack of regulation."-----As far as financial risk taking in was Clinton who removed the regulations. Bush was removing all the environmental regulations he could, but as far as financial ones it was Lawrence Summers when he was Treasury Sec under Clinton.

      I for one think that de-regulation is a great idea BUT failure should have been allowed. These companies should have no restrictions on making money and on paying top talent top money, but by the same token they never should have been bailed out.



      • 5 Years Ago
      Obama is all about redistributing wealth, not creating it. No tax relief for businesses--just the expectation of tax increases which discourage investment.

      Global Warming--oh, excuse me!--it's "Climate Change" now because the Earth might be cooling--will add more taxes and discourage auto companies from producing cars people really want. Wait for the all-new Chevy VOLT which will be a government engineered car so costly that the only way to sell VOLTs will be with huge incentives from taxpayers.

      Let's hope for big losses in Democrat loons in Congress next year and sanity with a new president in 2012.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree. I too will vote once again for a president other than Obama in four years. However, even if we get rid of Obama, there will be plenty of "changes" that will be hard to change back. I sincerely feel as if the US will be no better than Europe. Well will not be focused on capitalism, growth and the attitude that hard work pays off.
        • 5 Years Ago
        GM has been working on the Volt for, what, 6 years?

        Climate change does not affect all climate zones equally. The northern passage is expected to be free of ice during summer months within the next several years. That means that commercial shipping routes will change based on climate change. But don't worry. Turn your television back on and focus on something that makes you happy.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why do you have to get so political autoblog? Whoever wrote this clearly favors the current administration ("inherited the problem"). President Obama did not inherit a bankrupt GM because the government never owned the majority of shares, if any, before 2009. Keep the spin out of stuff like this. We all love cars, and we all want to see car companies prosper... there's no reason to blame government leaders for the downfall of a private company.
      • 5 Years Ago
      From a politics perspective, I don't know why he said this. It just makes him look hypocritical, especially since he didn't expand to say why the situation was different now (and it is different). Of course there certainly could be some selective quoting going on here.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well that's the first SMART thing that has came out of that man's mouth in 9 years. Thought i would've seen the day.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just when one has almost forgotten GWB he reappears like a bad dream.
      He should just disappear and continue being the invisible man.
      Oy!
      Later for him!
      Peace
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