Fact Check: Osama Bin Laden Alive, General Motors Dead
Vice President Joe Biden has a suggested slogan for the Obama/Biden 2012 campaign. He repeats it everywhere he goes. “Osama Bin Laden is dead,” he bellows, “and General Motors is alive!”
There’s only one problem. He’s wrong.
Yes, Bin Laden’s dead, thank God. And General Motors is still an operating concern. But in point of fact, the cause for which Osama Bin Laden stood is stronger than at any time in American history, thanks in large part to the Obama administration. And as for GM, it’s not so much alive as it is a member of the corporate living dead, feasting on taxpayer brains while slowly deteriorating, the first zombie company created by Obama’s cronyism.
On the eleventh anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s attack on America, it’s worthwhile to examine just what he hoped to accomplish. He spelled out his goals in three documents: a 1996 fatwa titled, “Declaration of War Against The Americans Occupying The Land of the Two Holy Places”; a 2002 “Letter to America”; and a 2004 video.
In these manifestos, he declared his willingness to die, of course. His goals included:
- “Terrorizing” Americans;
- Demoralizing US troops;
- Weakening and destruction of Israel;
- Unification of Muslims throughout the Middle East via “democratic” establishment of Shariah law in “governments of our countries which act as your agents”;
- Destroying the US economy, especially the banking system, with special attention to the creation of massive deficits – a “bleed until bankruptcy plan”;
- Destruction of American industrial capacity in the name of global warming;
- Destruction of the rich, “who hold sway in their political parties, and fund their election campaigns with their gifts”;
- Closing Guantanamo;
- “Pack your luggage and get out of our lands.”
Eleven years later, Bin Laden seems to have kept most of his campaign promises. Are Americans “terrorized”? It would be hard to argue otherwise when we’re still dragging little old ladies out of line at the airport to be genitally examined. Forget hope and change – we’re now a nation of grope and shame.
Are US troops demoralized? Of course they are, when the Obama administration seeks to cut military funding dramatically, place more restrictive rules of engagement on them, and use them as a vehicle for social change.
Has Israel been weakened, and is it in danger of destruction? The Obama administration has done a phenomenal job of that by repeatedly undermining Israel’s ability to strike Iran’s nuclear forces, refusing to draw red lines on the Iranian nuclear program, undercutting Israel’s position of strength with Hamas and the terrorist Palestinian Authority, refusing to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and showing significant daylight on security issues.
Are Muslims unified throughout the Middle East? They’re surely more unified now than they were when George W. Bush took office, with the Muslim Brotherhood hijacking the so-called Arab Spring and turning it into the Islamist Awakening – complete with total US arms and cash support. When Barack Obama invited the Muslim Brotherhood to attend his 2009 speech in Cairo, he opened Pandora’s box. What’s even more frightening, he seems happy that Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia are now under Muslim Brotherhood control; he’s fine with the growing influence of Iran; he’s just peachy with the Islamist Turkish government.
Has the US economy been bankrupted by its massive deficits? Of course, although not in the way Bin Laden expected. In fact, Bin Laden’s attack had almost nothing to do with our economic collapse – though many liberals would argue that Bin Laden’s attacks prompted expensive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that contributed to our massive national deficit. In truth, liberals rammed through corrupt financial policies, then used the predictable and resultant fallout to ram through massive spending measures. The American deficit is at record levels, our credit rating has been downgraded, and states that provide both active and tacit support for Islamic terrorist groups and nations are now our creditors. Bin Laden got what he wanted, even if he didn’t have much to do with it.
Is the US’ industrial capacity in serious trouble thanks to environmental regulation, all in the name of Barack Obama “slowing the rise of the oceans”? Of course.
Is America targeting its own rich, particularly those who affect American elections? You bet. What’s more, Bin Laden singled out rich Americans who were somehow under the control of the Jews. Barack Obama’s administration merely singles out Sheldon Adelson by name.
How about Gitmo? It isn’t closed, but not for lack of trying by the Obama administration.
And as for leaving Muslim lands, that’s been Obama’s central objective in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both are falling to Islamist proxies – Iran for Iraq, the Taliban for Afghanistan.
Sure, Bin Laden’s dead. But what he stood for – a weaker America on foreign policy, less American presence on the international stage, a corrupted American economy, a Middle East dominated by Islamists -- is stronger than it was on September 10, 2001. And as Barack Obama continues to kowtow to Islamists across the Middle East, provide flexibility to their supporters in Russia, rely on their funders in China to finance our debt, and slice our military budget, Bin Laden’s lifeforce only grows more vibrant.
But what about the second half of the Biden formulation? Even if Bin Laden’s alive, what about General Motors?
It’s dead, too. When GM faced bankruptcy, it faced it for one reason: the United Auto Workers had contracts that put GM on the ropes. Instead of allowing GM to go through the normal bankruptcy process, though, President Obama tossed $100 billion at the problem -- $50 billion in straight grants through TARP, a waiver of $45.4 billion in taxes, $360 million in stimulus, and a huge tax credit for buyers of the God-please-don’t-spontaneously-combust Chevy Volt. Meanwhile, he also forced GM bondholders to take pennies on the dollar while awarding UAW a far higher share of their holdings.
Where did the taxpayers end up? We’re going to lose well north of $42 billion on the auto bailouts, and much more when you include tax breaks and credits. GM’s such a disaster area that it premiered on the market at $33 per share in 2010. It now trades at just under $23 per share.
But didn’t it save jobs? Of course not. While Biden and Obama claim that they saved some 1.5 million jobs, as National Review points out:
This preposterous figure is based on the assumption that if GM and Chrysler had gone into normal bankruptcy proceedings, the entire enterprise of automobile manufacturing in the United States would have collapsed — not only at GM and Chrysler but at Ford and foreign transplants such as Toyota and Honda. Not only that, the Democrats’ argument goes, but practically every parts maker, supplier, warehousing agency, and services firm dedicated to the car industry would have collapsed, too. In fact, it is unlikely that even GM or Chrysler would have stopped production during bankruptcy: The assembly lines would have continued rolling, interest and debt payments would have been cut, and — here’s the problem — union contracts would have been renegotiated. Far from having saved 1.5 million jobs, it is not clear that the GM bailout saved any — only that it preserved the UAW’s unsustainable arrangement.
Actually, the GM bailout didn’t even save the 250,000 jobs Bill Clinton cited in his speech at the Democratic National Convention. While the auto industry has added about 236,000 jobs, almost none are at GM. The companies who are best off are the ones who never got bailed out. In April 2009, Obama’s own advisors told him this – they said that job losses would be only 10 to 20 percent of the bankrupt companies. Obama himself summarily laid off 100,000 people at GM and Chrysler dealerships during the auto bailouts.
Isn’t GM number one in sales? No, it isn’t. Its sales increases lag behind Toyota, Volkswagon, Porsche, and even Kia. The vaunted Chevy Volt, a disastrous automobile creation that the Obama administration touted as its great breakthrough, has turned out to be more Yugo than SUV – each one produced costs the taxpayers some $49,000, and their manufacture has started and stopped more often than Obama’s sputtering economic “recovery.” And overall, GM is only number one if you count the 1.2 million vehicles created by China’s Wuling, in which GM is a small stakeholder, and ignore every company in which Volkswagon owns a majority. GM has smaller revenue than both Toyota and Volkswagon. GM’s current market share is 18 percent; in 2011, it was 20 percent. It’s headed the wrong direction.
Even GM’s sales are false. Over 90 percent of its car loans are of the subprime variety, meaning many folks won’t pay them back. In order for GM not to go bankrupt, it’s going to need another cash infusion or a dramatic change in circumstances – to break even for the taxpayer, the stock needs to trade at $53 per share.
Bin Laden’s alive – or at least his cause is, forwarded in large measure by the sympathetic policies of Barack Obama. And GM is dead, thanks in large measure to the GM bailouts that prevented GM from truly reorganizing, instead dooming it to a long crawl into the abyss. So while Barack Obama runs around the country guzzling beer with average Joes, getting hugged as though he hasn’t left America with the smallest workforce participation in 30 years, let’s remember: his big bumper sticker accomplishments have been miserable failures on a more general level.