The U.S government sold its shares in Chrysler at an estimated loss of $1.3 billion in taxpayer money, the Treasury Department said Thursday, announcing the end of a controversial “investment” that resurrected the troubled auto company. Italian automaker Fiat, which has run the company since it emerged from bankruptcy protection in June 2009, purchased the U.S. government’s remaining 98,000 shares in the auto company for $560 million.
The financial loss annoyed Republican lawmakers.
“I am deeply disturbed to learn that the Obama administration left $1.3 billion taxpayer dollars on the table in resolving its bailout of Chrysler,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “The administration has sold out an American icon to a foreign company using TARP funds underwritten by taxpayers. Now they are essentially give that same company $1.3 billion of taxpayer money,” he said. “At a time when American taxpayers must make tough choices to repay their mortgages — even on houses worth less than they paid — it is unfathomable that Italian automaker Fiat and its subsidiary Chrysler got away with repaying less than the full amount borrowed from the U.S. government,” he added.
Treasury provided a total of $12.5 billion to Chrysler and its financing arm after the recession hampered auto sales and sent Chrysler and General Motors to the brink of collapse. The funds came from the government’s $700 billion bank bailout fund. Since then, $11.2 billion of the assistance has been repaid, Treasury said. Chrysler repaid $5.1 billion in loans from the government in May. But the $1.3 billion remaining is unlikely to be recovered, Treasury said.
“With today’s closing, the U.S. government has exited its investment in Chrysler at least six years earlier than expected,” said Tim Massad, assistant secretary for financial stability. “This is a major accomplishment and further evidence of the success of the administration’s actions to assist the U.S. auto industry, which helped save a million jobs during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”
Blah blah blah! How is losing $1.3 BILLION of taxpayer dollars hard earned money a success? This should provide more insight as to what this Administration deems as a success as how easily it throws around billions of dollars as if it were nothing! Chrysler jobs saved, well for now, but think of if the $1.3 billion was sent back to the job creators who sent that money to Washington, ie taxes, how they could reinvest in their businesses and create more much needed jobs. Only $1.3 billion lost, a staggering realization that I am having a tough time rapping my mind around.