During the 2012 campaign, President Obama kept ripping Mitt Romney, falsely claiming that the GOP candidate had a history of shipping American jobs to China. And when Romney said that Chrysler was going to build Jeeps in China, the progressives went wild — issuing frothy denials about the plan to outsource jobs. The problem was Romney never said that Chrysler was “outsourcing” existing Jeep jobs, only that the carmaker was going to keep “building Jeeps in China.” And that is true.
Perhaps the GOP candidate would have been better off talking about General Motors. A report in the Washington Examiner details GM’s building of production capacity in China.
The bailout agreement negotiated by the President had a provision that GM had to increase capacity in the U.S. Apparently, Obama has quietly released the auto manufacturer from that requirement. As a result, GM is spending billions of dollars building up its production capacity … in China.
Here’s what happened: In exchange for the bailout in 2009, GM promised to meet certain domestic car production targets over the next four years. The obvious point of this stipulation was to ensure that GM jobs remained here at home and weren’t shipped overseas. The production targets started at 1.8 million in 2010 and were supposed to rise to 2.26 million by 2014. GM repeatedly missed the targets, beginning with an 81,000-unit shortfall the first year. Production increased thereafter, but never quite enough to meet the targets. Last year, GM fell about 13,000 cars short of its 2 million target.
How did it do this year? GM refuses to say. But in February, GM announced in its annual report to shareholders that Treasury had agreed to “irrevocably waive certain of its rights” regarding the federal loan. These included “certain manufacturing volume requirements.” Guess what happened next? GM announced in June that it would stop releasing its North American production figures altogether. Its spokesman tried to justify this move with Orwellian doublespeak about how providing more information would result in “an incomplete data set to look at.”
The same month, GM announced it would boost its output from its China plants by 70 percent. It is not just selling Chinese-made cars to the Chinese, either. GM is nearly doubling its export production capacity there from 77,000 units to 130,000.
A cynic would say that once the election was over, Obama allowed GM to move to manufacturing to China. It is a very strange coincidence.