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Donnelly: 5 Years After Auto Bailout, Economy Improved

Five years after the auto bailout, Senator Joe Donnelly says Indiana's auto industry proves it was a success.

Chrysler assembly line

Photo: Indiana Public Media News

Kokomo's economy relies heavily on the Chrysler, which employs a large portion of the city's population.

Senator Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, says the rapid recovery of Indiana’s auto industry shows the government bailout of automakers five years ago was success.

The government bailed out General Motors, Chrysler and their suppliers for over $80 billion.

The government sold its last shares of GM yesterday. It took a $10 billion lose on the deal, giving fodder for opponents of the bailout who say it was a risky intervention.

But President Obama argues it was necessary to avoid bankruptcy. Donnelly says the auto companies now employ about 100,000 workers in Indiana—that’s nearly as many as before the financial crisis.

“They have done an extraordinary job in coming back, in making the best quality vehicles in the world. We have seen their market shares continue to increase. We have seen growth in the sector that has really pushed Indiana’s economy forward,” he says. “When Indiana’s unemployment numbers drop a huge portion of it is related to the tremendous growth in this sector.”

Donnelly spent the last week visiting several auto companies in the state. He notes that since the bailout, Chrysler has invested almost $2 billion and GM has invested $500 million to boost their workforce and production.

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