On the outside chance you haven’t already heard, General Motors today announced than in 2011 the company earned a profit of $7.6 billion, up 62% from 2010. Its hourly workers will be getting profit-sharing bonus checks of up to $7000 each, the largest ever.
In current-dollar terms this is GM’s highest profit in history despite last year’s relatively slow-growth economy. Even adjusted for inflation, GM earned only about 19% less than in its previous record year of 1997 at the height of an economic boom. Moreover, GM has now had eight consecutive profitable quarters (even last quarter, dragged down by losses in Europe, was in positive territory). That’s not bad for a company that had been on the verge of collapse before the Obama administration stepped in to rescue it.
It might be worth recalling that back in 2009 Mitt Romney wrote an article about that rescue titled “From Bad to Worse” in which he said of the rescue plan, “It would be as ineffective as it is un-American.” He confidently predicted that GM would continue to lose money, requiring a constant taxpayer subsidy into the indefinite future. (In reality, it’s been the other way around; GM has been paying money into the Treasury.) His conclusion: “What is proposed is even worse than bankruptcy — it would make GM the living dead.”
Now, of course, Romney is saying that the rescue was just what he recommended all along.