The government's Auto Task Force was given the difficult task of saving General Motors and Chrysler at a time when the credit markets were frozen and the economy was in chaos. The team ultimately got the job done by ushering the two iconic companies through extraordinarily short bankruptcies.

Former car czar Steven Rattner headed the Task Force through those tough times, and though he characterizes the bailouts as a success, he feels the United Auto Workers could have given more. The Detroit News reports that Rattner told the Detroit Economic Club that the Task Force should have insisted on UAW wage cuts. Rattner added that the wages of UAW workers is still higher than that of the foreign competition.

Rattner also pointed out that bondholders weren't asked to sacrifice enough, adding that a traditional bankruptcy would have meant that those investors would have likely lost everything.

In total, the U.S. government spent $82 billion in taxpayer money to bailout GM and Chrysler. That's a whole heap of coin, and the U.S. government estimates that it will lose $14 billion when all of its GM shares are sold. Even so, Rattner estimates that the bailout saved "millions" of manufacturing jobs.


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  • 25 Comments
      ASR
      • 3 Years Ago
      Some of you will never be satisfied. Some of you will never be content with the fact: -an industrial middle-class family can finally send one of their own to a decent college, -that cities like Kokomo, IN, Lansing, MI, and Belvedere IL continue to exist and prosper again. -that people deserve to have a workplace where they can work with dignity. -that communities can build and rebuild infrastructure, invest in quality school and recreational and cultural venues. -that folks of all colors and all walks of life from all over the world can realize their own piece of the American Dream through the ability to bargain collectively. -that people gave their lives and livelihoods in the pursuit of fairness and equality of opportunity, not equality of outcomes. To Steve Ratner and those some of you, have a Merry effen Christmas, and may your stockings be filled with coal and the keys to a 1986 Hyundai Excel. You deserve each other. -
      hevace
      • 3 Years Ago
      We would have been better off in the long run by just giving the money to the GM workers who would have lost their jobs and shutting down the factory.
        hevace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @hevace
        I meant factories.
        ojfltx
        • 3 Years Ago
        @hevace
        hevace I still believe the competitors and investors would have saved most of those jobs. The market is too big to be left unattended, particularly the truck market. 500,000 units of high profit vehicles is not exactly something they would leave on the table.
      Renaurd
      • 3 Years Ago
      Mr Rattner, you can kiss my damn ass, you stupid jerk.
      ojfltx
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well, at least someone recognizes things were not done optimally who was on the inside. But I still contend there is simply now way the other manufactures would allow the market to go unserved, even if GM and Chrysler had liquidated. Too late for that though. But one correction to the article, the estimated loss has swollen to 23.6 billion dollars ( http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=auto+bailout+loss+23.6+billion&source=web&cd=24&ved=0CNMBEBYwFw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.detnews.com%2Farticle%2F20111114%2FAUTO01%2F111140434&ei=_aHrTrK-LO242QWUtfCkDw&usg=AFQjCNF8W1BEwn0p5J_4gkiw8GGjEJ100Q ).
        Basil Exposition
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ojfltx
        "I still contend there is simply now way the other manufactures would allow the market to go unserved, even if GM and Chrysler had liquidated." There was never a fear that there would be a shortage or lack of cars. That had nothing to do with the decision to save the companies.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Basil Exposition
          [blocked]
      Jon Acton
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think it was a perfect time for the Big 2 and Chrysler to push the unions out once and for all and they blew it big time. Oh well, guess we'll have to wait until they go bankrupt again.
      darkness
      • 3 Years Ago
      Only in America can the working class be crucified for making $60k a year, goddam this country is set on stupid.
      Shoe
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have read Steve Rattner's book, "Overhaul" mostly because I was certain I opposed the bailouts. There was nothing I read that made me change my mind, but it was very educational as well. I do understand now the how and why, though I may not agree with it. It is interesting to me that this post outlines the main idea I opposed him on. His rational of Bond Holders, pensions and vendors being owed nothing was based on the idea of a traditional bankruptcy. What he fails to ever balance is that he organized a very non-ordinary bankruptcy. I have recently folded a small business I have owned for the last three years. If I had been allowed to write off all my debts and liabilities and start the next day with new cash reserves and a revenue potential I too could have paid that loan off quickly. I think what was done, while it is arguable it was needed, is a VERY dangerous precedent. What is even more scary to me is that he was able to use this method because they had already gotten away with using it in the financial sector. On the upside it does seem like they worked to install an executive team that would bust up the old culture at these two companies, but it is a shame that more attention and praise can't be shown toward what was accomplished at Ford with no help. I have a huge admiration for Bill Ford for having the bravery and fore-sight to bring in an outsider with a proven track record and then support him in recreating his family's company for the future.
      luege8
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd like to see the car czar could be in our shoes and raise a family of two or three kids through college and be forced to compete with slave labor on $9.00 an hour and pay for a house and save for retirement and hope no medical bills cripple us as we do it
      luege8
      • 3 Years Ago
      you know I just dont understand how people in gov can be so stupid I wish I knew what school they went to cause their math never adds up ! first we're forced to compete with foreign cars which could have been stopped at the border and gm chrysler and ford would have never gotten intho the shape they were in to begin with but yet they're forced to compete with a car manufacturer that is supported by the state and lower wages no retirement and no health benefits and no safety rules .the answer to those hard working americans let the market dictate the going wage.I saw how concerned american and obama was concerend when he was window shopping in paris chrysler was sold to fiat and the american worker takes it on the chin again while washington whistles past their grave and they wonder why there are so may foreclosures and they bail out the banks.what a shame how this country has gone to slow destruction if you dont know what I'm talking about when was the last time you took a vacation to detroit? take a look at what happened to that town over the last 30 years it all goes back to wahsington dc and nafta
      viperbono
      • 3 Years Ago
      Die UAW. Let the big Three compete fairly with the foreign auto-makers! I still buy American (they make what I like)even though it supports the UAW.
      luege8
      • 3 Years Ago
      st.louis used to be second to detroit in auto manufacturing we had a ford plant and a chrysler plant and a chevy plant and a corvette plant and a chevy truck plant now all thats left are vacant lots where these plants once stood and a chevy van plant in wentzville mo. where they build the full size chevy van oh and the astro gm safari mini van plant closed too in the northeast as that line shut down how much more can the americna worker take from the idiots in washington dc?
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