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Steve Chiotakis: There’s an old saying in the South about getting blood out of a turnip. Usually has something to do with money and it means the actual getting is very, very unlikely. That’s what a government watchdog group says this morning about the money spent bailing out automobile manufacturers. Uncle Sam owns about 60 percent of General Motors and about 10 percent of Chrysler. And a full return on the investment . . . well, you get the idea. Here’s Marketplace’s John Dismdale.
John Dimsdale: The Troubled Asset Relief Program spent $81 billion propping up GM and Chrysler. The government’s auto task force wants to sell taxpayers’ shares over the next couple years. But the Congressional Oversight Panel concludes there’s no way the car companies’ share prices will be high enough to repay all the taxpayers’ money.
The Treasury Department, which runs the TARP program, admits some of its investment will be lost. Administrators say they’ll try to do well for taxpayers, but its more important to get the government out of the car business as soon as possible.
The congressional watchdogs recommend an independent trust be set up to run the government’s auto company holdings to make sure there’s a quick way out for taxpayers without political influence.
In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.