Sean Hannity falsely claimed that the auto industry rescue under President Obama was a failure and that "every single person" working in the industry would have kept their job had the government allowed the big three auto companies to go bankrupt. In fact, more than a million jobs would have been lost without the rescue, and bankruptcy would have likely resulted in liquidation of the auto companies.
Hannity pushed the falsehood on the October 15 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show while talking to a caller. After the caller correctly pointed out that there were jobs saved due to the auto bailout, Hannity responded: "Every single person would have kept working if they had gone bankrupt. Every single solitary person." He continued:
You act as though Mitt Romney was going to go in there and shut down all of the plants and that cars would no longer be produced. That's not what bankruptcy does. No, you're wrong, it wouldn't have happened that way.
This is false. The auto industry, after steadily hemorrhaging jobs, hit a 10-year low in June 2009. Between December 2008 and June 2009, the federal government loaned the auto industry $85 billion. Shortly after the $85 billion was loaned, the auto industry began its recovery and steadily added more jobs with sales of the Big 3 automakers reportedly "surging." The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides a clear picture of the increase in jobs after the bailout:
As The New York Times reported in February, "there are 1.45 million people who are working as a direct result of the $80 billion bailout, according to the nonpartisan Center for Automotive Research, both at the carmakers and associated businesses downstream in the economy." In 2008, Nobel laureate and Times columnist Paul Krugman warned that allowing the auto industry to declare bankruptcy "would mean wiping out probably well over a million jobs at the worst possible moment."
Furthermore, experts said at the time and continue to say that without government funds, private financing for an auto industry bankruptcy would have been "all but impossible to get." Alan Mulally, the CEO of Ford, made clear that without the auto bailout the entire auto industry "would have been in real trouble." Jennifer Granholm, who was governor of Michigan at the time of the bailout, has explained that they were "begging" for private funds for General Motors, but none were forthcoming. And Arthur Gonzalez, the federal judge who presided over Chrysler's bankruptcy hearings, said during an ABC News interview that "one thing is clear, without government support in one fashion or another, there were no sources of funding" for Chrysler.
In the absence of financing, the auto companies most likely would have been forced into liquidation.