Eighteen months after the Obama administration launched a taxpayer-funded rescue of General Motors, the company is reporting earnings so far this year of $4.8 billion, which means it is outperforming Toyota.
And on Thursday, for the first time, the new General Motors will offer stock for sale by private investors. Wall Street seems eager to have the opportunity. Experts predict the stock will sell well, and demand is so high that this week the company boosted the estimated price range of its stock from $26-$29 to $32-$33.
In the late spring and early summer of 2009, conservative critics were citing the bailout as proof that Obama was taking us “down the road to socialism,” as U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby put it. Yet after this week’s IPO, the federal government will no longer be GM’s majority owner, and government officials are debating whether to shed the remainder of GM’s stock relatively quickly or sell it more slowly, allowing it to increase in value and perhaps even turn a profit for taxpayers.
Critics were also pretty damn certain that the attempted bailout was doomed to fail, that the administration’s effort to save an estimated million jobs could not work and would only end up costing the taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.
In fact, for old times sake, let’s go back and review just a smattering of those predictions, shall we?
“Does anyone really believe that politicians and bureaucrats in Washington can successfully steer a multinational corporation to economic viability?”
– U.S. Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio
“Every dollar spent with GM is a dollar spent against free enterprise.”
– talk-show host Hugh Hewitt
“Now the government has forced taxpayers to buy these failing companies without any plausible plan for profitability. Does anyone think the same government that plans to double the national debt in five years will turn GM around in the same time?”
– U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.
“The people saying they don’t want to buy anything at General Motors are not mad at General Motors. They don’t want to patronize Obama. They don’t want to do anything to make Obama’s policies work! This is an untold story, by the way. Of course, the government-controlled media is not gonna report anything like this but there are a lot of people who are not going to buy from Chrysler or General Motors as long as it is perceived Barack Obama is running it, because people do not want his policy to work here because this is antithetical to the American economic way of life.”
– talk-show host Rush Limbaugh
“You’ve got government bureaucrats who are making decisions about what kind of car models are going to be produced, which plants are to be closed and how many dealerships to eliminate. You have in effect central planning of this industry. Karl Marx must be smiling today. We’ve never seen this level of government control of the economy in peace time history.”
– Phil Kerpen, policy director, Americans for Prosperity
“We’ll continue to make the case that President Obama and House Democrats want to do to America’s health care system what they have done to General Motors. Having to defend such drastic government intervention paid for with reckless spending and bailouts is not an enviable position for many of these Democrats to be in next year.”
– Paul Lindsay, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee
“Unfortunately, this is just another sad chapter in President Obama’s eager campaign to interject his administration in the private sector’s business dealings…. We have seen time and again that when the government attempts to set business practices for private corporations, it ends in spectacular failure. It is time to stop circumventing both the markets and the legal process.”
– U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.
“I see no hope whatsoever for the situation. I think the $50 billion might as well be kissed goodbye. I would expect that this is just the beginning.”
– conservative policy consultant Wendell Cox
“I think the long-term outcome will be the same. It’s unlikely to ever recover the huge investment that’s been made in it, and you will then be carrying this forever and ever and ever.”
– Ronald Utt, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation