Romney: I would sell GM stock

Tuesday, June 5, 2012 - 7:42pm

CNN) -- In an interview published Tuesday, Mitt Romney said as president he would sell the government's share of GM stock, even if that means cutting a loss.
The presumptive GOP presidential nominee accused the president of delaying the sale of the shares as part of a political ploy to avoid a taxpayer loss before Election Day in November.
"I would get the company independent from government and run for the interests of the consumer and the enterprise and its workers -- not for the political considerations of government officials," Romney told the Detroit News.
The government has owned 26% of GM stake (500 million shares) since it bailed out the company with nearly $50 billion in 2009. At just over $21 per share price on Tuesday, the amount falls well below the $51 per share price necessary for taxpayers to break even on the investment.
However, if the government waits longer to sell its shares, taxpayers would lose even more money in the event that GM stock sinks further.
But Romney said it was time to let the shares go, a call to action Romney first made in a February op-ed--also in the Detroit News--in which he urged the Obama administration to sell the shares "in a responsible fashion."
He continued to push for a sell-off in this week's interview.
"There is no reason for the government to continue to hold (its GM stake)," Romney told the Detroit News.
Romney has long been an opponent of the so-called auto bailouts. He wrote in a 2008 op-ed that the industry should go through "managed bankruptcy" rather than take federal money.
"Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check," he wrote in the New York Times op-ed, titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."
The Obama administration did eventually force GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy protection, but the bailout provided financing that allowed both to stay in business and reorganize. Each are now profitable again and hiring.
Obama's re-election campaign continued to pound Romney over his opposition to the bailouts on Tuesday, describing his defense of his 2008 position as "outlandish."
"The simple fact is that GM and Chrysler would never have survived long enough to undergo a private bankruptcy without the federal rescue loans," said Michigan Rep. Sander Levin in a statement blasted out by the campaign.


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