Now that GM is back in the black and its shares are selling briskly, someone should remind President Obama’s critics of the silly things they said when he bailed out the faltering auto maker a year or so ago.
“Socialist!” was the cry. And the government aid package was misrepresented as a ploy to take over the country’s economy.
The GM rescue left the government with a 61 percent stake in the company. With the current share offering, the taxpayers’ share will drop to about 33 percent. So what Obama is doing is selling the company back to the private sector – perhaps at a profit. If that’s not capitalism I don’t know what is.
Obviously, the president made a shrewd investment in coughing up $50 billion for GM in loans and equity. With a hand-up from the government, the 102-year-old American icon has gone from near-death to Wall Street favorite.
Now, GM is on track for its first full-year profit since 2004. (Click on graphic to view the company as it is today.)
Keys to the turnaround include the company’s market-leading position in fast-growth emerging markets led by China, success with redesigned cars like the Buick LaCrosse, and bold innovations like the Volt – Chevy’s plug-in hybrid.
To me, the most important aspect of the bailout is that it saved hundreds of thousands of American jobs. Indeed, you could argue that it saved what’s left of American manufacturing.
I find it tragically ironic that the workers of the American Midwest were bamboozled by slick PR hucksters and Machiavellian psychological manipulators into voting against the administration that saved their jobs and returning to power the people who wanted so much to let them lose their livelihoods.