According to the White House’s just-released report titled “The Resurgence of the American Automotive Business” [PDF here]:
The U.S. Government provided a total of $80 billion to stabilize the U.S. automotive industry through investments in General Motors (GM), Chrysler, Chrysler Financial, Ally Financial, and programs to support automotive suppliers and guarantee warranties. As of today, $40 billion has been returned to taxpayers. While the government does not anticipate recovering all of the funds that it invested in the industry, the Treasury’s loss estimates have consistently improved – from more than 60 percent in 2009 to less than 20 percent today.
Independent analysts estimate that the Administration’s intervention saved the federal government tens of billions of dollars in direct and indirect costs, including transfer payments like unemployment insurance, foregone tax receipts, and costs to state and local governments.
This is as close as we’ve gotten to a thorough accounting of the full cost of the auto industry bailout, as both GM and Chrysler have erred on the side of counting as little of their own taxpayer support as possible (leaving out aid to their predecessor firms, finance companies and suppliers). On the other hand, it’s also two short paragraphs in a ten page report… and the rest of the document hews pretty closely to Democrat strategist Ron Klain’s advice to the White House, specifically
tell the story with fewer numbers and more emotion; less prose and more poetry
While the media debates whether this means the bailout bill will come to $14b or $16b, it’s becoming clear that the final number won’t make a big difference… at least politically.