It's tucked away in a blog post at the Detroit News and may make the business pages elsewhere. But you know that if the bailout costs for GM were less than expected, it would be frontpage news:
The Treasury Department dramatically boosted its estimate of losses from its $85 billion auto industry bailout by more than $9 billion in the face of General Motors Co.'s steep stock decline.
In its monthly report to Congress, the Treasury Department now says it expects to lose $23.6 billion, up from its previous estimate of $14.33 billion.
The Treasury now pegs the cost of the bailout of GM, Chrysler Group LLC and the auto finance companies at $79.6 billion. It no longer includes $5 billion it set aside to guarantee payments to auto suppliers in 2009.
The big increase is a reflection of the sharp decline in the value of GM's share price.
The current estimate of losses is based on GM's Sept. 30 closing price of $20.18, down one-third over the previous quarterly price.
GM's stock closed Monday at $22.99, up 2 percent. The government won't reassess the estimate of the costs until Dec. 30.
The government has recovered $23.2 billion of its $49.5 billion GM bailout, and cut its stake in the company from 61 percent to 26.5 percent. But it has been forced to put on hold the sale of its remaining 500 million shares of stock.
The new estimate also hikes the overall cost of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program costs to taxpayers. TARP is the emergency program approved by Congress in late 2008 at the height of the financial crisis.
I don't care of GM and Chrysler pay back every penny - which they won't. The bailout should not have gone through. The auto makers should have been allowed to go the normal bankruptcy route instead of the cram down measures taken by the federal government that rewarded slothful unions at the expense of investors who lost everything.