Thursday, November 18, 2010

GM's post-bailout IPO a disgusting "success"

Thankfully, I've not watched any of the TV hoopla surrounding General Motors' (or if you prefer, Government Motors') post-bailout IPO.

Still, I can't avoid the news of this event entirely, as I'm exposed to the GM news through my Twitter stream, StockTwits, and the recent
posts from some bloggers I keep up with.

The disgusting spectacle of this government-engineered IPO (made possible with your taxpayer dollars) was but an ugly image in my mind until I found Greg Harmon's tweet on StockTwits' GM stream. Now I have the shocking, surreal life photo to go with it:

Subtlety is dead in America. You are being ripped off and the banner proclaiming it is staring you right in the face. It is a disgusting spectacle indeed, to see the announcement of GM's post-bailout IPO draped over the American flag and the columns of one of our most revered capitalist institutions, the NYSE.

Last night I read an article in which GM's CFO Chris Liddell described the then-upcoming share offering as "historic". Historic is not the word I would have used to describe it. A farce and a national shame would be much closer to the mark.

Meanwhile, GM CEO Dan Akerson had this to say about the IPO and its effect on reducing the US government's stake in GM:

"They have taken their ownership down by roughly half," he said. "I would say that the average taxpayer in the United States would look at this particular transaction as very positive.".

Well it's nice to know the government is reducing its ownership stake in GM, but let me stop here and point out the use of the word transaction to describe this unseemly state of affairs. "Transaction"?!

A transaction is an exchange that occurs between two or more willing parties. Did US taxpayers have a say in any of this? Were you consulted on the auto industry bailout or were you given an opportunity to vote on whether your money could be used to prop up a failing enterprise such as this? How many IPO shares of the "new GM" were allocated to your account today in exchange for your kind support?

Before I go off the deep end completely, let me point you to Jeff Carter's excellent post on the GM IPO over at Points and Figures. Read it, and check out Francine McKenna's Forbes blog post on GM's unaudited financial statements while you're at it. Then get back to me if you still think this is a wonderful, "historic" investment opportunity or an "exciting" chapter in our country's history.