A resurgent automobile industry vindicates the government's bailout, President Barack Obama said during during a speech at a Chrysler plant in Toledo, Ohio today.
Obama's defense of the $80 billion aid package, which Republicans derided as a costly handout, coincided with grim economic data released today that shows unemployment inching upwards. Chrysler's improbable turnaround, in which it has paid off billions in debt to the government two years after it declared bankruptcy, gave Obama an opportunity to tout one of his administration's successes.
This industry is back on its feet, repaying its debts, gaining ground, Obama said. He added that without government intervention by the time the dominos stopped falling, more than a million jobs, in countless communities, in a proud industry that helped build America's middle class for generations, wouldn't have been around any more.
Obama committed to the bailouts shortly after taking office in an attempt to stabilize the auto industry at a time of widespread economic chaos. President George W. Bush authorized investments in the auto industry the month before his term ended. Chrysler has added 6,000 jobs since declaring bankruptcy in May of 2009, a company spokesperson told Bloomberg.