Candice Miller for Congress, Michigan

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Miller: Treasury Dept. Neglects to Show Why it Was Necessary to Eliminate Almost 2,000 GM & Chrysler Auto Dealerships Across America

by Candice Miller on July 25, 2010

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congresswoman Candice Miller (MI-10) took to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to question the steps that were taken to eliminate almost 2,000 General Motors and Chrysler Co. car dealerships across America, and as a result, the elimination of countless jobs. The Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) recently released a report finding that the Department of the Treasury did not show why the elimination of dealers was necessary for the sake of the company’s economic survival or prudent for the nation’s economic recovery.

“About a year ago both General Motors and Chrysler went through a government orchestrated bankruptcy in an effort to save these iconic American manufacturers. And I firmly believe that the survival of these companies was then, and is today, vital to our national economy, as well as to our national security.
“While I am thankful that these companies are coming back strong, I do have serious questions over steps that were taken, most importantly the shuttering of thousands of car dealerships across the nation and the elimination of countless jobs that worked in those auto dealerships. I didn’t understand when these bankruptcies were moving forward how the elimination of thousands of dealerships, who are really the customers of the auto companies, would help to provide any savings to the bottom line for either GM and Chrysler. I also did not understand how the arbitrary elimination of tens of thousands of profitable small businesses and the elimination of tens of thousands of good paying American jobs was in the best interests of our nation or in line with the stated desire of this Administration to protect and to create jobs.
“And based on a recent report that was just released this passed Sunday, it seems now the Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) is asking the same questions. That report found that the Department of the Treasury did not show why the elimination of dealers was either necessary for the sake of the company’s economic survival or prudent for the nation’s economic recovery. The report went on to say that Treasury made a series of decisions that, and they say: may have substantially contributed to the accelerated shuttering of thousands of small businesses and that those decisions resulted in adding tens of thousands of workers to already lengthy unemployment rolls – all based on a theory and without sufficient consideration of the decision’s broader economic impact.
“These findings seem to back up what many of us were saying at the time. The elimination of customers for the auto companies is counter intuitive to the financial well being of those companies and the government aiding and abetting the elimination of tens of thousands jobs of good jobs is certainly abhorrent at any time, but particularly at a time of economic difficulty when such jobs are already in very short supply. Fortunately, Congress took action that required an arbitration process for dealers which has led to now the reinstatement of over 700 auto dealerships.

“But this is little consolation to the tens of thousands of workers who have lost their jobs or to the communities who have lost very good tax payers and excellent corporate citizens. These types of outcomes also further erode the confidence of the American people in the idea that federal intervention in our economy will bring about positive results. Because of the actions taken last year by this Administration thousands and thousands of our fellow Americans are today searching for jobs.

“American citizens being victimized by an inept federal government plan that went wrong. This Administration needs to understand that the American people do not want further federal intervention into our economy. They simply want the government to get out of the way and to allow the entrepreneurial spirit of this nation to once again take flight and to lead us back to prosperity. As President Ronald Reagan said so well 30 years ago, ‘Big Government is not the solution to our problems, it is the problem.’

“It is long past time for this Administration and this Congress to focus like a laser on how we create jobs instead of devising plans to actually destroy jobs. Too many American auto dealers and the workers who lost their jobs have paid a dear price as a result of this Administration’s actions. Let us be determined, now, that we in Congress will now conduct our proper oversight responsibilities to get to the bottom of how this happened and to make sure that it never happens again. American auto dealers deserve no less from this Congress.”

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