We don’t need an aircraft carrier and “Mission Accomplished” banner, but isn’t it time to agree that the auto rescue has been a success?
Former auto czar-let Steve Rattner picks an unfortunate choice of metaphors to celebrate the possible success of the auto bailout in an op-ed for the Washington Post. Meanwhile, the latest Treasury estimates still show a projected $24.6b loss on the bailout, so yeah, let’s hold off on that carrier-based victory party.
Much self-congratulation later, Rattner finally gets to the point. Though he believes in the restructured GM and Chrysler, Rattner’s clearly worried that political pressure to get the government out of the car industry as quickly as possible will lead to an unseemly stain on his otherwise spotless record:
as the opportunity to cash out its stake grows nearer, the Treasury should take care to sell wisely. Bringing an end to government ownership of the auto industry is of great importance, but let’s not have a fire sale. We owe that much to taxpayers.
To say nothing of Rattner’s own scandal-torn legacy. Meanwhile, one profitable quarter does not a successful bailout make. Let’s get these IPOs out of the way and take a look at the final bailout bill before we start even joking about the phrase “mission accomplished.”