Last night on Fox News, Vice President Cheney admitted that the Bush administration deliberately decided to pass the buck on GM and let President Obama deal with the problem. Cheney admitted that he thought the "right outcome was going to be bankruptcy," but that President Bush didn't want to "be the one who pulled the plug." Instead, the Bush administration put together a costly auto bailout to stem the tide until President Obama took office:
CHENEY: Well, I thought that, eventually, the right outcome was going to be bankruptcy. … And the president decided that he did not want to be the one who pulled the plug just before he left office.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why?
CHENEY: Well, I think he felt, you know, these are big issues and he wouldn't be there through the process of managing it, but in effect, would have sort of pulled the plug on GM and that was one of the first crises the new administration would have to deal with. So he put together a package that tided GM over until the new administration had a chance to look at it, decide what they wanted to do.
VAN SUSTEREN: But it's cost us billions to get — I mean, you know —
CHENEY: It has. … And now the government owns a big chunk of General Motors. That bothers me. I don't like having government own those kinds of major financial enterprises. I think it's — it does damage to our long-term economic prospects when we get government involved in making those kinds of decisions.
When announcing his $17.4 billion auto bailout in December 2008, Bush said that "bankruptcy now would lead to a disorderly liquidation of American auto companies." Cheney is now saying that they were thinking about bankruptcy all along, but instead used billions of dollars of taxpayer money to push their problems onto the Obama administration.