I’ve been doing a little reading today. A “little bit”. I did want to enjoy my day off.
Here is my search, When did auto plant in Janesville, Wisconsin shut down?
This is just page one and two of the search results. There is no truth. Unless you can figure out from all of this who’s telling the truth if there is a truth, then I am all ears. Ping me!
By December 2008, when President George W. Bush authorized nearly $14 billion in loans to General Motors and Chrysler, both of which were near financial collapse, GM had already warned it might close the Janesville plant because of sagging sport-utility vehicle sales. The plant was effectively shut down on Dec. 23, 2008, when GM ceased production of SUVs there and laid off 1,200 workers. (Several dozen workers stayed on another four months to finish an order of small- to medium-duty trucks for Isuzu Motors.)
The Janesville plant stopped production of SUVs in 2008 and was idled in 2009 after it completed production of medium-duty trucks.
The plant shut its doors for good in 2009. According to an Associated Press article in the local Rockford Register Star, the plant ceased operations of large SUVs – its main product — on December 31, 2008 and was scheduled to completely shut down several months later.
A lot of liberal bloggers are insisting that the plant was “shut down” under the Bush administration. There’s the point when the orders for new vehicles stopped coming in, and the point when the plant actually completed its orders and stopped making them. One was in the closing months of the Bush administration, the other was in the opening months of the Obama administration: “The Janesville plant stopped production of SUVs in 2008 and was idled in 2009 after it completed production of medium-duty trucks.”
After General Motors announced on June 3, 2008 that it intended to close the nearly 100-year-old plant by 2010, Ryan joined a core group of about a dozen other Wisconsin officials from both parties in the GM Retention Task Force. Their efforts were ultimately unsuccessful, and the company suspended all operations at the facility by Dec. 23, 2008, eliminating 2,400 jobs. It has been in “standby” mode since.
The Detroit News noted that Obama said during a visit in early 2008 that government help and some restructuring could keep the plant open. But after the financial crisis and a collapse in demand for the SUVs the factory produced, it shut down in December 2008 in the waning days of Bush’s second term. It’s still owned by GM, but has been closed ever since.
Let’s break down, then, the exact chronology of the Janesville plant closing; Conn Carroll of the Washington Examiner has helpfully posted one here, which I add to below. The basic takeaway, however, is this: by December 2008, the plant had reached a point of no return where the plant would be shut down regardless of federal action. Ryan was faulting Obama for an that was event that was inevitable over a month before he took office.
In June 2008, however, GM announced that the plant would close by 2010 due to the aforementioned lack of demand for SUVs. The Bush administration, which was also promoting a move toward more fuel-efficient vehicles, described the plant closure and related moves by the company as a sign GM was “adapting well” to the shifting business climate.
After taking office in January 2009, Obama did ask for more severe cost cuts from GM and Chrysler, but the choice of which plants would survive or close was made by GM and Fiat management, which took over Chrysler as part of the larger auto bailout.
It is easy to see why Democrats want to argue about when the plant closed and notwhy it closed. Both the crushing weight of employee benefits negotiated by unions and the failed state stimulus plan don’t comport well with their narrative.
Let’s start with what Obama said and see if any reasonable human being who isn’t simply shilling for the President could possibly reach the same conclusion as Politifact: I know that General Motors received some bad news yesterday, and I know how hard your Governor has fought to keep jobs in this plant. But I also know how much progress you’ve made – how many hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles you’re churning out. And I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years. The question is not whether a clean energy economy is in our future, it’s where it will thrive. I want it to thrive right here in the United States of America; right here in Wisconsin; and that’s the future I’ll fight for as your President.
Sorry, I can’t actually really figure out what’s going on here on this page, but in an effort of full disclosure didn’t want to leave it out. jmg
The Romney campaign points out that there were still a few operations — it had to do with more of Isuzu Motors rather than GM that were coming out of that — after December 2008. But for all intents and purposes, that plant was pretty much closed down before President Obama took office.
The media want to claim Ryan is blaming Obama for closing the plant. That is neither what Ryan said nor what is even implied.
The plant, which is in the Congressional district Ryan’s represented since 1999, was closed for production of GM vehicles in December of 2008, a month before Obama was sworn in. It remained open until April of 2009 to finish a subcontract the plant had with Isuzu.
So it seems workers at that GM plant in Janesville were indeed working in February of 2009. In fact, they worked on that joint GM/Isuzu project producing new vehicles until May 2009, under President Barack Obama.
I can read it, but I am not smart enough to even begin to know who’s right. Like I said, if you figure it out, I’m all ears!