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

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.