It's Official: Taxpayers Lost $16.6 Billion On The Auto Bailout

Conn Carroll
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Posted: Feb 04, 2015 1:00 PM
It's Official: Taxpayers Lost $16.6 Billion On The Auto Bailout

In his 2014 end of the year press conference, President Obama claimed that, "effectively today, our rescue of the auto industry is officially over. We've now repaid taxpayers every dime and more of what my administration committed." (emphasis added)

And it is true: if you look at only the new money the Obama administration spent bailing out General Motors, Chrysler, and Ally Financial, taxpayers did get back "every dime" of that cash.

But that completely ignores the $17.4 billion President Bush promised General Motors and Chrysler in December 2008

If you take the entire Troubled Asset Relief Program bailout into account, taxpayers spent a total of $79.7 billion on the auto bailout, received only $63.1 billion back, for a total loss of $16.6 billion.

According to the most recent quarterly TARP Special Inspector General report, released January 28, the Treasury Department sold its final 54.9 million shares of Ally Financial stock at $23.25 a share on December 19, 2014. With that sale, taxpayers were able to bring their final Ally Financial bailout recovery to $14.7 billion, which is still $2.5 billion less than the $17.2 billion that taxpayers initially spent bailing out the company.

In addition to the $2.5 billion taxpayers lost on Ally Financial, they also lost $11.2 billion on the GM bailout and $2.9 billion on the Chrysler bailout.

It did not have to be this way. Obama violated numerous bankruptcy laws when he strong-armed GM and Chrysler through bankruptcy, all to the benefit of United Auto Workers members. Non-union employees of the firms got screwed. And so did taxpayers.

According to a study by George Mason University Law School professor Todd Zywicki, the UAW subsidies forced on GM and Chrysler by Obama cost taxpayers $26.5 billion.