GM got bailed out in 2009, they reorganized, got rid of toxic assets, they were afforded bankruptcy procedures no other business in over 200 years of bankruptcy precedent was afforded, all in the name of saving the General. At the time we were told the money being "given" to GM was not a gift but a loan and would be paid back and most likely Treasury would come out ahead getting more from GM than they were given.
2013, where are we at? Sure GM is buying back stock, but by the time it is all done and GM is a private company again Treasury will have lost between $12-20 billion dollars. Far from that profit we were practically assured. What has GM learned from all this, apparently not much. After getting rid of all the excess capacity, toxic assets, closing plants, getting rid of workers etc, they still can't seem to figure out how to match production with demand (same problem pre 2009). They have 200 day surpluses of almost all models and have up to $9K rebates to move the metal. So much for that learning their lesson, GM is going to be a much leaner, profitable, company. Sure they are making money (profits are falling though), but Europe is a mess, investor confidence is down, and the latest redesign of their core product (Trucks and SUVs) is more evolutionary, then revolutionary. You never get ahead following the other guy. On top of that where is the profit from the Volt, you know the car that was going to save GM. A product so good they were going to sell 40,000 a year (for 2012 they will sell 13,500, hmmm sounds like the old GM overly optimistic sales projections to justify huge investments (you know like the Pontiac Aztek someone actually thought they were going to sell 50,000 Azteks a year in 2001 when they were released Look at that Rick these baby's are going to fly off the lot). I just do not see where they learned from their mistakes. They were handed a bunch of cash, a preferential bankruptcy proceeding, and they continue business as usual after the obligatory reorganization. I mean they put a PR guy in charge of Cadillac. Not an engineer, not a manufacturing guy, a PR guy. Hey but he used to be in charge of a large company, well I feel better already and the stock price went up $10 a share when it was announced (reality check here, the stock price fell on that announcement and Treasury lost money. Current estimates show GM stocks' needs to be $55 a share for Treasury to break even. Currently GM is trading at $27 a share).
In my opinion this is a glaring example of why bailouts do not work. No lesson was learned. The only thing GM learned was no matter how bad we screw up, we are too big to fail and the government will bail us out. C'mon man 200 day supply of vehicles, $9K rebates PR men in charge meet the new boss, same as the old boss except he is using our money. As far as I see not much has changed.