Obama's Rescue of the Auto Industry Starts to Pay Off

| Wed Sep. 5, 2012 9:49 PM EDT

Speaking of things that President Obama doesn't get enough credit for:

Total auto sales for the month were just under 1.3 million, 19.9% higher than a year earlier. That would put the annual pace at 14.5 million vehicles, the best of any month since the federal "cash for clunkers" economic stimulus program in August 2009 and a rate 2 million vehicles ahead of August 2011's.

....Fuel-efficient vehicles were especially good sellers as gas prices neared or crossed $4 a gallon in much of the nation. Sales of Toyota's Prius hybrid more than doubled to more than 21,000 vehicles....General Motors Co. said its Chevrolet passenger car sales jumped 25%, with gas sippers such as the Spark, Sonic, Cruze and Volt plug-in hybrid all posting their best-ever monthly sales.

I won't pretend to know whether GM and Chrysler can survive in the long run. Probably not. But then, you know what they say about the long run, don't you?

Conversely, in the here-and-now, the Obama administration's surprisingly dextrous rescue of GM and Chrysler saved upwards of a million American jobs and prevented the economy from tumbling even further toward the abyss than it did. Entire regions of the country would probably be in economic devastation today if Obama hadn't acted as he did.

But he did, against the opposition of nearly the entire Republican Party. The Big Three all have at least a fighting chance at long-term survival, a million workers still have jobs, and the economy is starting to recover. Not bad.

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