Who Lost?

Dunstan Prial at Fox Business, noted that

The Treasury Department on Monday announced that the government has sold its remaining shares of General Motors, and that losses from the 2009 auto industry bailout total about $15 billion.

In a conference call, Treasury officials said the government has recovered about $39.9 billion of the $49.5 billion earmarked for GM under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) approved by Congress as the company teetered on the brink of bankruptcy nearly five years ago.


Treasury has intermittently sold its shares of GM but always at a price below that which would have allowed the government to break even on the deal, which accounts for the nearly $10 billion in losses.


The government has lost an additional $1.3 billion on its bailout to Chrysler[.]

Leaving aside that the auto industry was not bailed out, nor was it ever at risk—only two failing car companies were at risk—there is another misunderstanding, and one that’s surprising from a business writer.  The government lost nothing on these bailouts.  The government has nothing of its own, and so it has nothing that it can lose.

We American taxpayers lost those $10 billion on GM, those $1.3 billion on that Italian car company, those $15 billion overall.

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