Paul Ryan Was Right on Obama’s GM Plant Abandonment

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The Obama spin machine, which includes much of the mainstream press, is shadowboxing against its own false rendition of what Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican nominee for Vice President, actually said about the closing of the GM plant in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin. According to the Obama campaign and its allies, Ryan falsely accused the Obama administration of being responsible for the closing, when GM had already made the decision to close the plant in December 2008, and let go most of its workers, before the Obama presidency even began.

The trouble is that Ryan never claimed in his acceptance speech that the Janesville plant closed on Obama’s watch, even though in point of fact it technically did.  Cars were still being produced there during the spring of 2009.  Ryan’s point was that the Obama campaign had demagogued the anticipated closing and made a promise to keep the plant open with government help – a promise President Obama bailed out on after taking office.

Obama said on February 13, 2008, during a visit to the Janesville plant: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.”

In October 2008, Obama commented on GM’s announced intention to wind down production at Janesville and close the plant altogether by 2010:

Reports that the GM plant I visited in Janesville may shut down sooner than expected are a painful reminder of the tough economic times facing working families across this country…As president, I will lead an effort to retool plants like the GM facility in Janesville so we can build the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow and create good-paying jobs in Wisconsin and all across America.

Here is where things get interesting and demonstrate that Obama reneged on his campaign promise, just as Ryan had said. The Janesville plant remained on stand-by status and was being considered for use in producing the “small car of the future” according to a GM press release issued in June 2009 — well after Obama had taken office.

In fact, as recently as September 2011 the Janesville plant was still ready to be put back into use for production of cars if demand warranted, according to GM.

In other words, Obama still had a chance to make good on his campaign promise to “lead an effort to retool plants like the GM facility in Janesville” and ended up abandoning Janesville instead.

With GM being really Government Motors after the Obama bailout (for which U.S. taxpayers are still on the hook for many billions of dollars), why didn’t Obama keep his campaign promise and see to it that the Janesville plant went from stand-by to actual small car production and thereby keep it open?  Because he’ll say anything during the campaign and then do nothing to follow through when he had the power to do so. Obama’s so-called GM bailout and green energy policies, including government incentives for cars of the future such as the failed Chevrolet Volt,  have not saved the Janesville plant, Obama’s campaign promises to the contrary.

If anything, Paul Ryan was too easy on Obama.

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  • Schlomotion

    Mr. Obama owes me $2.89 on every gallon of gas that I buy.
    Paul Ryan owes me $2.89 on every gallon of milk that I buy.

    After they are done apologizing to one another, they can apologize to the American people for tariffs and hidden fees from protectionism.

    • Guest

      Hurry up, Schlomo, only a few more articles to go! You gotta get every one, right? Can't sleep until it's done. It's totally not crazy at all. I noticed that comments are a little less manifesto-y tonight. Why is that? Because you're a little deflated that someone has diagnosed you?

      • Schlomotion

        Rust never sleeps.

        • wsk

          Neither does idiocy, apparently

        • Guest

          Hey, Schlomo, I have a bet for you. I bet you can't leave angry manifestos on every article in under ten minutes tonight. I will time you! I bet you can't! Come on!

        • Ghostwriter

          Especially when it's between your ears,Schlockmotion.

    • HoR_Emperor

      Hush, malignant anti-Semitic troll-scum.

  • davarino

    Hot air filling a flat tire with a hole, and filling an economy with hot air, smoke and mirrors, and lies. Yes, the economy is part psychology but you have to convince the people with money that the economy is doing well and that your not going to rip them off some time in the future. Throwing money at the poor is a nobel idea but are you going to do that forever? The poor dont create jobs. You cant keep giving unemployment extensions forever. Sure you can just take the money from the rich, then what? Once that well is dry then what do you do, force employers to hire? Hire people to do what, make things that people dont want to buy (Volt, Leaf, Branch, Twigg, Compost).

    • Jim_C

      I think Obama should have spent way more stimulus money–all of it, actually–on goods and services from domestic private companies. That would have created jobs. However if he would have ignored the banks, what would happen to people's life savings?

      And yes, raising taxes on the rich to where they were in Clinton's, or if you prefer, Reagan's time, is a no-brainer.

      Had he done this, however, he would not have been able to pass health care reform. Health care had to be done first thing, politically speaking. So he bargained that health care reform, which all knew was needed (if not in its current form), would be the big issue to accomplish and hoped the economy would stabilize without as much stimulus. He played it safe, but smart–politically.

    • Faith Martin

      I think Maggie Thatcher said it best, "Socialism works well, until you run out of someone else's money."

  • amused

    sorry Joe , Ryan LIED , and you swallowed it ,and now you propagate it . and thats' not as if it's the first time for you .

    • Kalman42

      If Ryan LIED, please dispute the FACTS with FACTS. Do you have the intellect to do so, or is it only fluff?.

      • HoR_Emperor

        No, he doesn't. They're just going to shout "he LIED" over and over like children.

    • Joseph Klein

      As usual, you only serve to amuse yourself and enlighten nobody. I provided specific facts and links to sources. You provide nonsense and insults.

    • HoR_Emperor

      You guys are pathetic.

      • amused

        typical brainwashed parrots aping Ryan . If you lie just repeat it , talk over it ignore it and say it again …..pathetic .

        • aspacia

          Valid source unamuzing?

    • Faith Martin

      Ryan did not lie, I watched his speech, he simply quoted word for word what Obama said while campaigning.

  • amused

    davarino , you think you know capitalism , you think you've got it all figured out eh ? Study it , the principles of capitalism started in Britain at the dawn of the Industrial Age . New inventions / products to be manufactured , resources to exploit ….there was only one problem ….they needed a cheap and dependable work force .There was only one problem , the local peasants who were refered to as self-sufficient and indolent , had no desire to work for slave labour wages . They didn't need to they were farmers who were perfectly able to live off the land .So how to change that became the problem ….the answer was easy , the elite bought up the land and created legislatiion to disenfranchise them off the land ….if they wanted to survive they'd have no choice with their ability to feed themselves removed . In fact most of those capitalists believed that this "training" should start at age FOUR . So although the poor dont create jobs , they sustain the elite with a workforce , cheap , and loyal ,to run their factories and minds ,with absolutely NO RIGHTS .Go study history , you're ignorant .

    • Kalman42

      Great, therefore , the only solution for a happy and fair society is SOCIALISM / COMMUNISM, right? It has worked very well wherever it has been implemented. Yes, I guess the history is in your side!!!!! Have you ever been to a Communist country ( very few left to visit know)?

      • Jim_C

        Capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition.

    • HoR_Emperor

      None of that is history, it's just your pseudo-Marxist fantasies.

      Even if it was true, it is not in any way relevant.

      • amused

        sorry you deluded child , but is indeed history , in fact it's worse than what I stated . Those are the historical roots of capitalism , which eventually led to unionism . But hey you can be as stupid as you wanna be , so just ignore it CHUMP .

        • aspacia

          Typical ad hom attack from a liberal. You need some balance.

      • aspacia

        Often the young were apprenticed out to learn a trade at a very young age. Most were not well educated, only the rich elites. You are correct, it is not relevant to the fact unamusing did not provide a valid link regarding his claim that Ryan lied.

        amusing is correct about the corruption of businessmen, albeit, the workforce unionized and at first this was great, however, as more unions gained more power they became just as violent and corrupt as the businessmen.

        Balance is needed as is a good dose of history.

    • davarin

      Comrade amused, I see you are in support of the system that has shown itself to be so successful over and over again throughout history. So tell me comrade, how many Chevy Volts have you purchased to support the supreme leaders economic agenda? : ) No? Maybe a Leaf, or some Hybrid? A couple solar panels and a wind turbin? You just cant beat those hydrocarbons for energy density : )

      No, communism/socialism have shown over and over again they lead to poverty and shortages. They lead to inefficiencies and discontent. How ya liken America so far? I think you should have to leave and then come crawling back to the worst nation on earth.

      • amused

        who said anything about communism you dullard parrot ? Industrial capitalism is still embedded in the practices of the elite .The difference today is , that over the years, after much suffering ,abuse and exploitation of the American worker , organized labor , in the form of unions 6yr olds are not working in gfactories , there is a 40 hour 5 day workweek , there are standards for worker safety and a minimum wage . All you union haters dont realize that without them you be in a sorry state in your non-union jobs .The people that the authors here make a living deriding fought literally with their blood to establish work standards in this country which YOU ALL benefit from .Sure there have crooks in the Unions just as there are crooks in the elite and the legislators who sell their assses to them . You know nothing of the labor history of your own country , because you're a f–king idiot .

        • aspacia

          amused, I grew-up in a union family, AFL/CIO, and realize it was through the unions' organizing that did create a living wage and the middle-class. Albeit, many unions have bankrupted many industries. The Santa Fe comes to mind.

          Before my father was a union grievance man, he was a machinist, and afterward and was paid by the Santa Fe. He would brag about doing little work and being paid.

          There are problems.

    • pagegl

      You're confusing industrial capitalism for capitalism. Although use of the term capitlaism may have become prevalent during the dawn of Britain's industrial age, capitalism as a process has been part of man's existence since way before the industrial revolution. Man participated in trade for profit since the Roman empire and before. It's practice was reduced by feudalism, but was never really dead.

      • Jim_C

        Capitalism has always had to come up against a political reality. In your view, then, would "industrial capitalism" simply mean "predatory, unregulated" (laissez-fare?) capitalism, as opposed to the necessarily regulated capitalism of today?

    • nightspore

      In a way it’s useful to have people like amused and Schlomotion post on this site. It gives people a chance to see how these people think, how they operate (because in their thinking they are always ‘operating’). Here we have what I suspect is one of amused’s favorite fables – one he sets great store by – capitalism as exploitation, capitalism in its early vicious form before it could be tamed by government – and the unions. This is a fantasy that goes back at least as far as the Stadler Report (1832, I believe). It’s a fable, a narrative, posing as an historical account. The key thing is what it exaggerates – and what it leaves out. (A relevant reference here is F. A. Hayek (ed) Capitalism and the Historians.)

      There are a few(!) things wrong with this picture – that one can figure out just by using common sense. In the first place, if capitalism were inherently exploitative, why does it create so much wealth? Do criminals create wealth? Or politicians? Or union officials? What amused also leaves out of the picture is the innovation that accompanied the rise of Industry – and the hard work. (How would amused know about that?) The early industrialists were often great inventors, and deeply interested in the science of their day; they amassed enormous knowledge and know-how, e.g. about metals, chemical processes and so on (a relevant reference here is P. M. Jones, Industrial Enlightenment). In many cases, they were also concerned about their workers. In fact, the whole exploitation meme goes against the simplest understanding of industry and trade – these don’t work unless there are customers! Genghis Khan didn’t need customers; industrialists do.

      One of the strangest aspects of arguments like this – and the general anti-capitalist stance – is that there are so many ‘elephants in the room’ that are ignored. The population of Britain is now about 60 million. How was that made possible? And even the underclass enjoys a standard of living far beyond even the richest person in the 18th century. How could that happen?

      Incidently, the view implied here – of peasants living comfortably before the arrival of the rapacious capitalists (note how amused slips in these howlers so casually) is not only wrong, it’s almost nonsensical. Before the late 19th century, it was not uncommon for people to die of starvation if the crops failed. (I also suspect, though I don’t know for sure, that most of these happy yeomen were actually tenant farmers.)

      Perhaps the most dangerous thing about parasites like amused is that their fables, their narratives, generally contain a grain of truth. But it is always truth distorted – like a fun-house mirror that reflects what is there but in a way that distorts reality to caricature form. (The same is true for Schlomotion – although Schlomo is sometimes so incoherent that it’s not always clear what his arguments actually are.)

      • nightspore

        Another characteristic of amused’s arguments is the distinctions he blurs. (This is typical of these types.) One is the distinction between unions in the private and public sectors. In the former, there is often a genuine adversary. For example, going up against a monster like Henry For, Sr. as he became in his later years, with his thugs, one needs thugs of one’s own, so here unions may be necessary. But in the latter case, the ‘adversary’ is the taxpayer – so there’s a fundamental asymmetry between an organized group with vested interests and a disorganized population, that can therefore be taken advantage of. Amused’s rant about Gov. Walker a few months back was very revealing in this respect; it told us all we need to know about where Mr. Amused fits in. Walker led a brave defense of the taxpayer (the general public) against public sector parasites – and this threw amused into a paroxysm when he commented on it.

        The second blurred distinction is even more important. It’s between unions and actual workers. People like amused always try to conflate the two. But, as we know from the failure of unionism to take hold in car plants run by Japanese manufacturers, if workers can get a fair shake from their employers, then they don’t want parasites like amused jumping on their backs. There really is a vital difference between workers and unions (even if the latter are sometimes necessary) – and we know which side amused is on.

        In this connection, it would be interesting to know what position amused takes on the secret ballot issue in union elections. Actually, we know what his position probably is – but it would be interesting to see how he rationalizes it.

      • aspacia

        Excellent nightspore. When the parasites feed on the productive it will destroy any society.

    • aspacia

      Nope, the principles of capitalism started during the Renaissance with credit/debit ledgers. It is true that the British businessmen opposed public education and did buy as much farmland as possible for a cheap workforce. Regardless, how about a valid source regarding your claim that Ryan lied???

  • dmw

    RE: "With GM being really Government Motors after the Obama bailout (for which U.S. taxpayers are still on the hook for many billions of dollars)".

    From what I understand, the Government gave the "New" GM (a new and separate business entity from the "Old" GM, still in bankruptcy with billions in assets still to be liquidated) approximately $25B in exchange for stock. If the Government (we the taxpayers) are stockholders, pray tell how the "New" GM can be forced to buy back the stock. I also understand that the stock held by us must reach $53 per share to get the $25B back, yet it is now in the high teens per share, or a shortfall of around $35 per share to break even in a sale to just exactly who? The "New"GM in a buyback? The public in a public stock trade? In my estimation, the $25B "loan" is not. We're not "on the hook" — we're stuck with stocks that cannot be sold unless at a big big loss.

  • larrylinn

    Paul Lying again stakes his position in support of mendacity.

  • trickyblain

    Al Gore made accurate assertions, and the right depicted him as a pathological liar (he did sponsor legislation that funded [created] the Internet, he was the model for the male character in Love Story. Those are facts.).

    Paul "I was really fast" Ryan lies about totally unexplainable things (nobody "forgets" his marathon finish time — be it 20 or 50 years ago), and you just love him.

  • amused

    The sad and sorry facts about the Republican ticket is that they are BOTH unabashed LIARS , and when the debates start they're going to have to face those lies .Dont forget , not everyone in this country is as brainwashed as most of the gentry on this blog , in fact you are a-typical of average Americans , you've put your brains up on the shelf along time ago .