Income Redistribution: Last GM Shares Sold
Has GM really "repaid every taxpayer dollar" as Obama claims?
More than four years after U.S. taxpayers bailed out a flailing General Motors, the government sold its remaining shares in the company this week, leading Barack Obama to announce, “GM has now repaid every taxpayer dollar my administration committed to its rescue, plus billions invested by the previous administration.” There’s just one problem: it isn’t true. Shocking, we know.
When the Obama administration put taxpayers on the hook for $49.5 billion to prop up the auto giant, the government received in return a 60.8% stake, or 912 million shares, in GM. With the sale of the remaining shares, the government recovered $39 billion of the bailout. For those in the administration who can’t apply basic math, that’s a $10.5 billion difference – a far cry from Obama’s “every taxpayer dollar” repaid claim.
Naturally, the president omitted this small fact in his announcement, instead touting his refusal to let GM fail and bragging that his administration “bet on what was true” and “that bet has paid off.” In no other arena – indeed, in no sane reasoning anywhere – would a 21%, $10.5 billion loss be called a payoff. Indeed, it certainly didn’t pay off for the American taxpayer. But then again, none of Obama’s policies have, so why would we expect this one to be any different?