Nine of GM's 11 plants have canceled traditional summer shutdowns to keep up with consumer demand, and GM and Chrysler have added shifts. In addition, GM has repaid a $6.7 billion loan
and it is talking about going public in the fourth quarter. Ron Bloom, who was appointed help engineer the GM and Chrysler makeovers last year, says that the bailouts stabilized the entire industry,
including Ford and the network of parts suppliers that employ more people than he Big Three combined.
Detroit Free Press columnist Tom Walsh says he gets it: People don't like the idea of the taxpayer
money going to save private companies that were apparently mismanaged for years.
But the key analogy, he writes, is that "people didn't like the rationing of sugar, butter, meat and gasoline during World War II, either. But citizens supported these anti-free-market intrusions as necessary in a time of national emergency." Similarly, he feels that Obama "totally reshaped a bloated and dysfunctional industry, forcing sacrifices from all, into something that now looks sensible and sustainable."