U.S. taxpayers are taking a bigger loss on the General Motors bailout package than $10.3 billion originally reported. Due to an accounting error, the loss is actually $11.2 billion, according to a report released today.
The Treasury Department reported an $826-million administrative claim had been written off on March 20. However, the claim, which has not been revealed, cannot be written off.
The figure surfaced in a report by the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which was charged with overseeing the federal government’s economic stimulus program.
The U.S. government provided GM a $49.5 billion bailout package in 2009 as the company exited bankruptcy. The package was composed of a loan to the maker as well as the government taking an ownership stake in the company.
The Treasury Department proceeded to begin selling off its stake in the company in 2012 with the last of the shares divested last December.
The bailout, which began with the Bush Administration and was completed with the succeeding Obama Administration, had many critics, including former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
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According to report produced last year, the bailouts saved at least 1.2 million U.S. jobs in 2009.
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Others suggest that GM should repay the losses, but that notion was dismissed by then-CEO Dan Akerson, who told an audience at the National Press Club last December that the government took a risk like any other investor – including those wiped out when GM filed for Chapter 11 protection.
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And, he stressed, the bailout was far less expensive than the tens of billions of dollars in lost taxes and other revenues that would have been lost if GM had gone out of business.