GM CEO defends auto industry bailout: It worked

(CBS News) General Motors CEO Dan Akerson defended the government's bailout of the company and touted its recent success saying, "We're a growth company again."

Of the $50 billion government bailout, Akerson said Monday on "CBS This Morning," "This was a difficult decision that was made by two separate administrations, two radically different points of view from a political perspective - and it worked, and jobs were saved. People can send their children to college. Unemployment was reduced. This is all good for America."

Akerson said it "would have been a very short sighted decision," to not save the auto industry - which he said comprises between three and three and a half percent of the total GDP - gross domestic product.

GM is number five on the new Fortune 500 list after posting record profits in 2011. "We had a very good year. We're a growth company again," Akerson said. "We had $135 billion in sales in 2010. We have $150 billion plus in 2011 - that's up $15 billion in one year. We've had profits that exceeded any year in General Motors history in the 103-year history of General Motors."

Akerson also lamented the lack of moderates in the national dialogue, and blasted last year's political standoff over the raising the debt ceiling.

"We're not a banana republic, we're the United Sates of America," Akerson said. "I just think our political leadership, both sides, have to find common ground to solve the issues that confront this nation."

(Watch the full interview with Akerson in the video player above.)

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