“Many believed this was a fool’s errand,” Obama said in his radio/web address Saturday. “But we decided that while providing additional assistance was a risk, the far greater risk to families and communities across our country was to do nothing.”
Obama points to improvements in the auto industry since then: added jobs, loan payback, and profitability at Chrysler for the first time in three years.
As Obama acknowledges, “We still have a ways to go.” And there are questions about the way in which GM has paid back Uncle Sam, raised by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley this week in a letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
But for Obama, the segue from Detroit to Wall Street is clear: “Part of what led to the crisis in our auto industry – and one of the main causes of the economic downturn – were problems in our financial sector. In the absence of common-sense rules, Wall Street firms took enormous, irresponsible risks that imperiled our financial system – and hurt just about every sector of our economy.”