May 21

Past Event

Recovery Road? An Assessment of the Auto Bailout and the State of U.S. Manufacturing

A Discussion with Chrysler Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne and Larry Summers

Event Materials



  • Was the Auto Bailout Worth It?

    Ted Gayer: June 1 marks the fifth anniversary of General Motors filing for bankruptcy, one month after Chrysler did the same. Five years later we can ask, was it worth it? Was prevention of job and income losses worth the cost?

    Ted Gayer

  • Four Reasons the Auto Bailout Was Not a Mistake

    Lawrence Summers, National Economic Council: There are things you could be seeing today that would lead me to think that we made a mistake in the auto bailout. Fortunately, we see none of them.

  • Foreign Cars Are Better than U.S. Cars

    Clifford Winston: What the auto bailout did was prevent a shock that would have broken consumers' brand loyalty. Breaking brand loyalty in this industry is a good thing because the attributes of the foreign cars are better than U.S. cars.

    Clifford Winston

  • 50-Year Decline in U.S. Manufacturing

    Martin Baily: We've seen a 50-year decline in the share of employment in manufacturing and, after 2000, a huge absolute decline in the number of manufacturing employees.

    Martin Neil Baily

  • U.S. Manufacturing Jobs Pay Poorly and Cost Much to Create

    Steven Rattner, Department of the Treasury: There's really a difference between American companies and American jobs. And we saved a bunch of American companies, but the question is how many American jobs did we save.

  • There Were No Alternatives to the Auto Bailout

    Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler Group: The financial system would have been incapable of digesting a bankruptcy of this caliber, not Chrysler's and certainly not GM's. Don't look for alternative solutions to the government intervention. There were none.


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June 1 marks the 5-year anniversary of General Motors filing for Chapter 11, which had been preceded by Chrysler Motors’ declaration of bankruptcy. The combination of burdensome labor contracts, a legacy of massive pension and health-care costs, a run-up in fuel prices, falling market shares, and the financial crisis had come to a head by late 2008, leading to financial aid from the government under both the Bush and Obama administrations. Five years later, what are the results of the government’s interventions in the auto industry, and what is the state of manufacturing and manufacturing policy in the United States?

On May 21, the Economic Studies program at Brookings explored these questions. Keynote speakers included Sergio Marchionne, chairman and CEO of Chrysler, and former National Economic Council Director Larry Summers. In addition, one panel focused on the implications of the government’s intervention in the auto industry, and the second on the broader question of the state of manufacturing and manufacturing policy in the United States.

Event Agenda

  • Welcome

  • Question and Answer Session One: Inside the Decision-Making

    • Moderator

      Alan Murray


      Pew Research Center

    • Lawrence Summers

      Former Director, National Economic Council

      The White House

  • Panel One: Implications of the Government Rescue on the Auto Industry

    • Moderator

      Phil LeBeau

      Auto and Airline Industry Reporter


    • Harry Wilson

      Chairman and CEO

      MAEVA Group, LLC

    • Sean McAlinden

      Executive Vice President of Research and Chief Economist

      Center for Automotive Research

    • Clifford Winston

      Senior Fellow, Economic Studies

      Searle Freedom Trust Senior Fellow

  • Panel Two: U.S. Manufacturing and Manufacturing Policy

    • Moderator

      Portrait: Martin Baily

      Martin Neil Baily

      Senior Fellow, Economic Studies

      Bernard L. Schwartz Chair in Economic Policy Development

    • Jared Bernstein

      Senior Fellow

      Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

    • Scott Paul


      Alliance for American Manufacturing

    • Steven Rattner

      Former Counselor to the Secretary

      Department of the Treasury

    • Matthew Slaughter

      Associate Dean for the Faculty

      Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth

  • Question and Answer Session Two: Inside the Bail-Out

    • Moderator

      Paul Ingrassia

      Managing Editor


    • Sergio Marchionne

      Chairman and CEO

      Chrysler Group


May 21, 2014

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM EDT

Brookings Institution

Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW


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