Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's Official: We'll Lose Money on GM

Megan McArdle of The Atlantic reports The Government Isn't Getting Its Money Back Out of GM:
Well, they've priced the GM IPO, and it looks like they've valued the firm at just about what we lent it: $50 billion. Since the government only took a 60% stake, that's well below what would be needed for the government to recover its investment. Even with the billions they've already 'paid back'--by not using all the money--Uncle Sam needed the company to be worth more like $70 billion to break even on the bailout.
GM is a zombie. It will never be able to sell cars in the quantities that it used to because its brand has been tainted with the stench of the bailout. This is exacerbated by the fact that Ford opted not to take a bailout. In so doing, Ford burnished its brand. GM (and Chrysler) are marking time until they go back into bankruptcy.

It's also ironic that the GM IPO was announced the day before we learned about a massive new round of quantitative easing (what some are calling QE2). The portion of the GM bailout that is repaid will be repaid with devalued dollars. It's a perfect metaphor for the smoke and mirrors of DC.

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