When Will Rasmussen Ask If Voters Want Pet Unicorns?

Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

Coming soon from Rasmussen: a majority of children would rather slide down a rainbow than clean their rooms.

No less magical is the latest Rasmussen poll measuring support for the government's role facilitating GM's bankruptcy:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 56% of American Adults believe it would have been better if GM had used the regular bankruptcy procedures and left ownership in the private sector. Thirty-two percent (32%) believe it was appropriate for the government to use the special bankruptcy process in exchange for bailout money. Twelve percent (12%) are not sure.

Experts have maintained that "the regular bankruptcy procedures" were not available to GM and Chrysler in 2008 and 2009 because the financial crisis had eviscerated credit markets. Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi, who advised Sen. John McCain during his 2008 presidential campaign, wrote in November 2008 that private financing for a traditional bankruptcy "would be impossible to get" on account of the financial crisis. Jonathan Cohn, senior editor at The New Republic, pointed out: "the same Wall Street meltdown that has dragged down the economy and GM sales has also dried up the ... money GM would need to operate" in bankruptcy.

Liquidation, not a restructuring through a traditional Chapter 11 bankruptcy, was the alternative. Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote in November 2008:

If the economy as a whole were in reasonably good shape and the credit markets were functioning, Chapter 11 would be the way to go. Under current circumstances, however, a default by GM would probably mean loss of ability to pay suppliers, which would mean liquidation -- and that, in turn, would mean wiping out probably well over a million jobs at the worst possible moment.

The myth that GM and Chrysler could have gone through "traditional" bankruptcy persists in large part so that the right can excuse Mitt Romney's opposition to the government facilitating those bankruptcies in the absence of any alternative. Rasmussen's polling, based on pure fantasy, only serves to prop up that myth.

Then again, maybe there was a leprechaun with a pot of gold.

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Scott Rasmussen
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