AutoNation President and COO Michael Maroone and his wife are hosting a $50,000-per-couple fundraiser Monday in Fort Lauderdale for Republican Mitt Romney, who opposed President Obama's auto bailout plan that helped.... AutoNation.
Romney had written that taxpayers should "let Detroit go bankrupt" and that the bailout was "crony capitalism on a grand scale" because it helped labor unions.
But a Romney supporter and AutoNation CEO, Mike Jackson, felt quite differently.
“There are plenty of examples of crony capitalism that must end. It is incompatible with free enterprise. The auto bailout is not one of them," Jackson told CNBC during the GOP primary. "Sometimes when leaders get it right, like Bush and Obama—who were in the midst of a crisis and had the courage to act—you have to acknowledge it.”
The auto industry didn't just like the direct auto bailout; they appreciated the bank bailout set in motion by President Bush and continued by Obama. It helped credit flow. And that allowed more people to buy more cars they otherwise couldn't afford.
Michael Maroone sounded sanguine about the financial state of affairs in the credit market last year in am interview with The Nightly Business Report.
“The big driver of the recovery in 2010 was the restoration of credit," he said. "The change in 2011 is we’re now seeing an improving environment for sub-prime. So last year prime and near prime were more normal and this year we’re starting to see the sub- prime segment come along and that`s very important for our industry.”
Despite all this, it's no shocker they'll support Romney. They're Republicans. It's not likely that any more bailouts are in the pipeline anyway. And Romney wants to keep the Bush-era tax cuts on the wealthy and cut income tax rates 20 percent across the board.
Obama wants to do neither.
So while supporting the bailouts made good financial sense for the company in the past, supporting Romney makes good personal financial sense for wealthy individuals.