GM is no longer 'Government Motors'

The General Motors (GM) world headquarters is seen Feb. 16, 2012 in Detroit, Mich.

This final note on the way out, in which we learn the federal government is officially out of the car business.

The Treasury Department sold what was left of its stake in General Motors today. That part of the auto bailout didn't work out so well for taxpayers. We invested $49.5 billion four years ago.

As of today's sale, we've gotten $39 billion out of it. $10.5 billion in red ink all told.

Or, if you want to break it down farther...

We lost about $10 million a day on the thing.

Saved a whole bunch of jobs, though.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
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Live_city, you write very well, but you sure don't read well. My main thesis was that we did not need to pay $49.5 B to save the jobs. We should have only paid $39 (actually even less to allow for some profit), and/or received more of the ownership to warrant the higher dollars. I believe the bailout was warranted and was necessary to save the jobs, but only at the right price. The proof of the pudding is what happened. Had we received around 80% of GM instead of 61%, then the jobs would have been saved and the taxpayer would now have their money back. The unions would have less, but well they should since they would have recovered next to nothing in liquidation. So obviously, as I stated, Obama gave away our money, making a bad investment in exchange for future union votes. As for my calculation, I clearly stated it was based on a nominal % for opportunity cost - quite conservative in a period where the S&P doubled. So we had an investment in a public traded company and the avg of all public traded companies would be accepted by everyone else except you as "alternative investment decisions." So you are obviously emotional and biased, whereas my comment was based on fact. Pls, go back to the union hall and buy a round of drinks to celebrate screwing the taxpayers out of $10+ B.

Dear concerned citizen (facts by jack),

Thank you for spirited rebuttal. A few things: first, would you please elaborate on how you reached your empirical conclusions. Using the BEA inflation index, I have CPI adjustment leading to a 25% loss. As for your "opportunity cost" assessment, it would seem that without describing likely alternative investment decisions (and their projected consequences) one cannot describe your 1/3 loss conclusion as "reasonable analysis." Secondly, the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor estimated that the auto bailout (of GM and others) saved 1.2 million jobs. Are you saying that if there would have been no bailout, ultimately more jobs would have been created? If you could point out where this notion is academically supported that would be helpful. Finally, I would like to know more about the "fattening" of old union pockets. Once again, please point out the reports or reputable investigations that show UAW has enriched themselves as a direct result of the bailout.

In the case that your claims cannot be substantiated by actual evidence I suggest you make a written apology to Kai and pull your comment off the website.

Yes it saved jobs during these 4 yrs and into the future (probably ending sometime), but when considering even a minimal cpl % per yr opportunity cost of funds, taxpayers lost over 1/3 on their investment. Reasonable analysis would conclude, instead of Kai's "saved a whole bunch of jobs," that Obama agreed to pay over $10 bil more to the unions (in ownership) than they deserved. The jobs could have been saved with $40 bil instead of 50, but Obama wanted to enrich the unions beyond what their interest was worth. And since it could have been had a worse result, the unions should have accepted not $10 bil less, but at least 20. So excuse me for being the reporter here that Kai should have been, but we didn't save any jobs except to the extent the unions were being unreasonable in their demands, and if one believes that they (and everyone) should be reasonable, we only fattened their (the old union) pockets beyond what had already bankrupted GM and others. So taxpayers just overpaid (again) unions, not saved jobs.

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