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Study: Every GM Vehicle Sold Costs Taxpayers $12,200

Didn’t we have a war over this issue before?

Colonial America, The American Revolution

A fundamental difference of opinion had developed between British authorities and the Americans on the related issues of taxing the colonists and their representation in Parliament.

On the surface, the Americans held to the view of actual representation, meaning that in order to be taxed by Parliament, the Americans rightly should have actual legislators seated and voting in London. James Otis argued for this form of representation in the Stamp Act Congress in 1765, but few other delegates supported him.

The British, on the other hand, supported the concept of virtual representation, which was based on the belief that a Member of Parliament virtually represented every person in the empire and there was no need for a specific representative…

Semantics aside, I’ll submit that the U.S. citizen no longer has actual representation.  – Ilene

Study: Every GM Vehicle Sold Costs Taxpayers $12,200

Citizen Group’s Report Puts Cost of Auto Bailout in Perspective

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The American taxpayer has put up $12,200 for every General Motors vehicle sold through the beginning of 2011, and $7,600 for every Chrysler vehicle sold as well, according to a new report issued by the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU).

The report, The Auto Bailout – A Taxpayer Quagmire, authored by NTU Adjunct Scholar Thomas D. Hopkins, Professor of Economics at the University of Rochester, does the math on what the government bailout of the auto industry – including General Motors, Chrysler, and GMAC – actually means to American taxpayers, including how much each taxpayer has contributed to the auto industry since December 2008 and how much each vehicle is costing us.

"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, NTU Vice President for Policy and Communications. "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."

The study found that the average American taxpaying family has invested roughly $800 in the auto bailouts so far. Moreover, the study found, the government support poured into General Motors, Chrysler, and GMAC – the financing subsidiary that supports sales at both – now stands at a towering $78.9 billion. Given that figure, and an estimate of how many vehicles GM and Chrysler will sell through the end of 2010, the study finds that each vehicle one of the bailed-out companies sells costs taxpayers $10,700.

Finally, breaking down the costs by company, the study reports that every Chrysler vehicle sold costs taxpayers $7,600, and every GM vehicle sold costs taxpayers $12,200.

The research is based upon a November study released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), entitled "Continued Stewardship Needed as Treasury Develops Strategies for Monitoring and Divesting Financial Interests in Chrysler and GM," a follow-up report on the "Troubled Asset Relief Program," as well as statements and reports released from the U.S. Treasury.

  Additional Findings Include:
  --  GMAC receives government guarantees not available to most private
      firms.  Coincidentally, these are the same private firms that are
      forced to compete with GMAC's taxpayer-assisted bank, Ally Bank. 
      These guarantees save GMAC about $500 million annually in interest
      costs.
  --  During the first ten months of 2009, GM and Chrysler sales fell
      further than other major auto producers, down 33.4 percent and 38.9
      percent, respectively.
  --  While the prospect of repayment of GM and Chrysler loans might be
      expected, after bankruptcy the vast majority of the bailout funds are
      no longer legal obligations of the newly-structured GM and Chrysler.

  --  If Americans are to believe public officials' claims that the
      government will eventually reprivatize the auto industry, the
      necessity of a thoughtful exit plan is essential.  However, at this
      time no such plan exists, making it likely that the Treasury will not
      recover its investment.

"[T]he bailout has created moral hazard problems, inadvertently handicapping the progress of stronger, non-subsidized producers," Professor Hopkins concluded. "The problems extend beyond just the auto industry, as favored status for one financial company and its bank necessarily complicates prospects for non-subsidized rivals. The time has come to stop such bailouts, and in an orderly way, to seek at least some recovery for taxpayers."

About the Author and the Study

Thomas D. Hopkins is Professor of Economics at Rochester Institute of Technology. For more information please visit http://people.rit.edu/tdhbbu/main.htm.

The Auto Bailout – A Taxpayer Quagmire is based on data obtained from the Government Accountability Office and Treasury reports on the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The study was sponsored by the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, accountability from public officials, and economic freedom at all levels. For further information, visit www.ntu.org. 

Source: National Taxpayers Union

Web Site: http://www.ntu.org/

 


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