April 22, 2010

For all of the shouts and cries from conservatives about "bailouts", GM has just proven the wisdom of Congress' decision to lend Federal funds to keep GM afloat until they could get back on their feet. Today the company paid off their loans from the Canadian and US governments in full, five years early.

The company is paying back the loans “in full, with interest, years ahead of schedule,” Whitacre said in an opinion article in the Wall Street Journal. The two governments hold a majority of the automaker’s equity, he said.

The repayment shows “our plan for building a new GM is working,” Whitacre said. GM is “leaner, stronger” and building new vehicles whose sales have allowed the company to invest more than $1.5 billion at 20 plants in the U.S. and Canada, he said.

The GM loans have been a real talking point for conservatives. In exchange for the loans, the US and Canadian governments took an equity stake in the company as security for the loan. In any other world, this would be the prudent choice, but in our hysterical 24/7 tea and whine culture, that decision led to cries of "Socialism! Socialism!" In conservative-land, it was somehow better to allow one of our core industries to fail, to more or less end any competition between US companies, and throw 2 million people out of work, not to mention the support industries around GM's manufacturing and sales business.

I'd say it was an investment worth making. By getting GM the cash they needed to stay afloat and restructure, they've emerged stronger, more competitive, and poised to compete. Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I'm a huge fan of the Chevy Volt and am still jonesing for the opportunity to take it for a test spin. I gave up my Honda a year ago and walk everywhere right now. I'm not planning to buy another car until I can buy the Volt or something as cool as the Volt.

Cheers, GM, and congratulations! It's good to see you roaring back.

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