Feature

What Clint didn’t say about Detroit

The government takeovers of Chrysler and GM were accomplished by legally dubious “executive high-handedness,” not “patriotic collective action,” said Rich Lowry at the New York Post.

Rich Lowry
New York Post

With his “gravelly voiced credibility,” Clint Eastwood delivered the most memorable—and controversial—Super Bowl ad this year, said Rich Lowry. But the two-minute ad, touting Chrysler’s comeback after a government bailout, was based on half-truths and political propaganda. In the ad, Eastwood growls that Detroit is recovering because “we all pulled together.” Who is “we’’? Congress never approved the $80 billion in taxpayer money that both the Bush and Obama administrations poured into Chrysler and GM—$23 billion of which we’ll probably never get back. The government takeovers of the companies were accomplished by legally dubious “executive high-handedness,” not “patriotic collective action.” In glorifying the bailout, Eastwood didn’t mention that Chrysler and GM were saved only because they also declared bankruptcy, so they could pare down exorbitant wages and benefits, close unprofitable dealerships, and kill dated brands. The government also sold off 58.5 percent of Chrysler’s stock to Fiat; Eastwood’s “we,” presumably, must include Italy. “It’s good that Chrysler and GM are now off life support,” but if the Detroit bailout is the model for America’s future, “we should prepare for national collapse.”

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