This New York Times article has a good summary of where things stand with G.M. It starts with this: NYT: U.S. to Sell Stake in G.M., and it has this money quote
Nearly four years after what became a $49.5 billion bailout, the Treasury Department announced on Wednesday that it would sell 200 million shares back to the company for $5.5 billion, then sell an additional 300 million shares by early 2014.
Currently, the exit would produce a loss of more than $12 billion for taxpayers
It’s seems to me that while the timing of this is partly a post-electoral move, it is also a realization on the U.S. Government’s part that it was never going to get its money back from G.M. directly. It was time to cut the strings and move on. Also, I think Americans do benefit from the auto industry still being alive, and while Ford didn’t benefit directly the way G.M. did, Ford did indirectly benefit from having others in the automotive business besides themselves. I think Americans benefit from having Ford and G.M. competing, assuming that the latter can turn itself around. Finally, if G.M. does sink in the future instead of swim, then it has no one to blame but itself.
(Thanks to Jaimewoo for this link.)