Detroit Bust Would've Been Better Than Bailout

Ex-Prez Bush says bailout his idea, and a good one
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2012 9:02 AM CST
Detroit Bust Would've Been Better Than Bailout
Workers build a pre-production Dodge Dart at the Chrysler assembly plant on February 2, 2012 in Belvidere, Illinois.   (Getty Images)

Three years ago, Mitt Romney wrote that President Obama should "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," instead of bailing out the struggling auto industry, in a famous New York Times column. And today? Even with the American auto industry on the rebound, Michigan's GOP primary looming on Feb. 28, and Rick Santorum breathing down his neck in the polls, Romney still thinks bankruptcy would have been better than the president's "crony capitalism," he writes in the Detroit News. "I believe that without his intervention things there would be better," he writes.

Romney's big complaint with the bailout? That "secured creditors" got screwed and non-union employees had their benefits slashed while a union-controlled trust got 55% of Chrysler and the unions had their pensions saved. "It is not the American way of making cars," writes Romney. None other than former President George W. Bush is taking the opposite side in the post-mortem, saying that he was responsible for the first $25 billion bailout, and it was definitely a good thing. “I didn’t want there to be 21% unemployment,” Bush told the National Automobile Dealers Association last week, reports the Washington Post. "Sometimes circumstances get in the way of philosophy.” (Read more Mitt Romney stories.)

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