Although President Bush has kicked off the auto industry bailout process before leaving office, some would call Bush’s strategy more of a punt to his presidential successor, Barack Obama.
In a sternly worded radio address today, President Bush issued a dire warning to the Big Three automakers: Restructure—fast—or you’re on your own.
“The time to make the hard decisions to become viable is now – or the only option will be bankruptcy,” Bush said.
But he will be long gone before the March 31 deadline for General Motors and Chrysler to be in the black or pay back the $17 billion in loans, and it is Obama – along with a new and more Democratic Congress – who will have to make the decision about how to proceed then.
“Bush is punting this problem to the next administration,” said Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. “Obama can catch it or let it bounce into the end zone and let the parties work it out.”