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Think-Tank Report: U.S. Made 768 Percent on Auto Bailout

It’s like the best investment in America, ever! Via the Los Angeles Times on the report just issued by the “Center for Automotive Research”:

As the federal government gets ready to sell the last of its shares in General Motors Co., a research institute has calculated the final bill on the auto industry bailout and says that taxpayers were net winners. 

The Center for Automotive Research, a Michigan nonprofit organization that analyzes auto industry issues, said Monday that the U.S. government will lose about $13.7 billion on its bailout of GM and Chrysler Group.

But the think tank said those funds “saved or avoided the loss of $105.3 billion in transfer payments and the loss of personal and social insurance tax collections — or 768% of the net investment.”

Additionally, the center said the bailouts and financial restructurings saved about 2.6 million jobs in the U.S. economy in 2009 and $284.4 billion in personal income over 2009 and 2010.

In the report, “The Effect on the U.S. Economy of the Successful Restructuring of General Motors,” researchers Sean McAlinden and Debra Maranger Menk wrote that the value of the bailouts can’t be considered just by what the taxpayers will lose in the sale of GM’s stock.

“Any complete cost-benefit assessment of the federal assistance to GM in its restructuring must consider the total net returns to the public investment in GM in the U.S. economy,” they said. “In other words, the U.S. government is not a simple investor in companies but an active participant, when needed, in the overall U.S. economy on the behalf of all of the U.S. citizenry.”

Let’s hit the pause button for a second. Who is funding the Center for Automotive Research? Not surprisingly, it’s the auto-industry who benefited from the taxpayer funds. 

Maybe a little fact-checking is necessary before the media starts trumpeting this report. 

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