On the campaign trail, Barack Obama’s signature definition of “success” is the government bailout of General Motors. “I said I believe in American workers, I believe in this American industry, and now the American auto industry has come roaring back,” he told an audience in Pueblo, CO last week. “Now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry.” That pronouncement should send a shiver up the spine of every American, due to an inconvenient reality: according to Forbes Magazine, GM is likely headed for bankruptcy all over again.
The numbers are stark. The 500,000 shares of GM stock, comprising 26 percent of the company owned by the government–or more accurately the American taxpayer–sold for $20.21 on Tuesday. This left the government holding $10.1 billion worth of stock representing an unrealized loss of $16.4 billion. Even worse, in order to reach the break-even point, the stock would have to sell for around $53 per share.
The numbers remain in flux. As Investors Business Daily reveals, the Treasury Department continues “to revise upward the staggering losses inflicted on U.S. taxpayers.” They further note that the same day GM announced it was recalling 38,000 Impalas used by police in both America and Canada, due to a possible crash risk, a new Treasury report forecast that losses for GM were expected to reach $25 billion, which is $3.3 billion more than predicted earlier. Furthermore, since that report was based on GM’s stock price at the time of the report–15 percent higher than it is currently–those losses are likely understated.