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The auto industry is back

When President Obama first set foot in the Oval Office in 2009, the American auto industry was in dire straits and with it, over a million middle-class jobs. The President faced a tough decision—let the industry go bankrupt, or take a chance on American automakers with an loan deal that faced steep political opposition.

President Obama opted for the latter, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury created structured loans for Chrysler and General Motors to keep the auto industry afloat and promote economic opportunities for middle-class Americans. Tuesday, GM bought back the final shares of stock that Treasury had purchased as part of the rescue—and today, the Big Three American auto companies are standing alone and thriving.

Since June 2009, the auto industry has added more than 370,000 jobs. GM has nearly doubled its production in North America and its domestic sales have grown by over 7.5% per year. Last month was the single best month for U.S. auto sales in almost seven years, and the manufacturing sector has made a major comeback.

What's more, a new report from the Center for Automotive Research shows that decision saved 1.5 million jobs in 2010 alone. The report goes on to say that, were it not for the bailout, midwestern states like Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana would still have double-digit unemployment rates. GM's North American President Mark Reuss recently said that, because of the auto rescue, “tens of thousands of people who now can put food on the table."

The CAR report concludes with this line:

CAR is confident that in the years ahead this peacetime intervention in the private sector by the U.S. government will be viewed as one of the most successful interventions in U.S. economic history.

When the President first announced the auto rescue to a joint session of Congress, he said, "I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it." We didn't walk away, and the nation is stronger today as a result.

Learn more about how OFA is continuing to fight for a better bargain for the middle class, to create good jobs for even more Americans.

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