If you invested more than $100 in a company, would you be happy if your shares were worth only $35? By anyone’s definition that investment would have been a terrible failure.
Yet, that is how the federal government’s investment in General Motors looks. The federal government has put in well over $100 billion into shoring up General Motors, but the entire company, not just what the government owns, was worth only $35 billion on Friday.
GM sales have bounced around, rising in March and then falling in April, but investors’ best guesses for what future sales will be are already in GM’s stock price. And surprisingly, a recent Rasmussen poll shows that support for the bailout has been rising and now 44 percent of likely voters say that the bailout was good for America.
The money the government spent adds up quickly: $50 billion in TARP bailout funds, a special exemption waiving payment of $45.4 billion in taxes on future profits, an exemption for all product liability on cars sold before the bailout, and $360 million in stimulus funds. Other money of which it is harder to quantify GM’s share includes the $15.2 billion Cash for Clunkers program and the $7,500 tax credit for those who buy the Chevy Volt. And all those costs don’t even include the billions taken from GM’s bondholders by the Obama administration. . . .
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Labels: bailout, GM, op-ed