Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Study Says that Every GM Vehicle Sold in the States Costs Taxpayers $12,200 - In Theory...

It's 'bailout talk' time again as a new study that was conducted by Thomas D. Hopkins, a Professor of Economics at Rochester Institute of Technology, for the 362,000-member strong National Taxpayers Union (NTU), finds that the American taxpayer will have put up $12,200 for every GM vehicle, and $7,600 for every Chrysler, sold from the beginning of 2009 to the end of 2010. Together, the taxpayer subsidy for Chrysler and GM, will theoretically exceed $10,700 per vehicle sold.

But that's only if, and we repeat if, the two companies fail before 2011 and don't repay their government loans. That's a big 'IF', if you ask us, but anyway.

Hopkins came out with these figures by making guesstimates on the 2009 and 2010 combined yearly sales of GM (5.06 million vehicles total) and Chrysler (2.3 million units total) and then dividing the numbers with the loans received by the two automakers, including GMAC's bailout money as the company now provides financing services to both GM and Chrysler.

The professor says that the result is a GM/GMAC bailout of $61.5 billion ($52.9+$8.6), and $17.4 billion ($13.5+$3.9) for Chrysler/GMAC, which amounts to $12,200 for GM and $7,600 for Chrysler on a per vehicle basis.

Hopkins does note however that for each year of survival beyond 2010 and as long as no additional government loans are provided, the taxpayer burden per vehicle would decline.

"Of course one could adopt a more optimistic set of assumptions, developing a scenario in which this rescue turns out so successfully that most (but certainly not all) of the taxpayers' investment ultimately is returned, perhaps indeed with some profit," says Hopkins. "In that event, most of the taxpayer burden would disappear."

"But the plausibility of such rosy assumptions is not easy to defend. For starters, some $6.4 billion of the bailout funds, in the form of loans to the former (now bankrupt) GM and Chrysler, are not legal obligations of the newly-structured GM and Chrysler," Hopkins added.

Pete Sepp, NTU Vice President for Policy and Communications, was even more aggressive in his commentary about the report:

"Every time someone in your neighborhood drives home in a shiny new Chevy Silverado, remember that it cost American taxpayers more than $12,000," said Pete Sepp.

"Between this and GM's plan to payback their bailout debt with other taxpayer funds, I wonder if all those Americans without work right now could think of any better ways to spend that money. This is a play out of the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme playbook, and would be the equivalent of paying your Master Card bill with your Visa."

Leaving aside the fact that the 'taxpayer burden' per vehicle is based on the assumption that neither company will pay back any loans and that they will both fail by 2011, the report also does not take into consideration any other factors whatsoever including the cost for taxpayers if both companies went bankrupt leaving tens of thousands of workers directly and indirectly employed by GM and Chrysler without a job.

Link: NTU

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