Dan Akerson, General Motors’ Chairman and CEO, rejected calls for the automaker to pay an extra $10 billion intended to to cover the difference between taxpayers’ investment and what the U.S. Treasury recovered from selling its GM stock last week.
Akerson argued that the government accepted the risk when it opted to accept shares in the company, as any investor might when backing an embattled firm. The government took a stake in the company as part of a bail-out during the 2008-2009 financial crisis. If GM paid the Treasury for its losses, GM’s out-going CEO said, the company could face lawsuits from other shareholders.
“I would not accept the premise that this was a bad deal,” Akerson said at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Monday. Akerson contended that the government’s $49.5 billion aid package to GM saved billions in tax revenue, and saved millions of jobs, avoiding spending on food stamps and unemployment benefits, The Detroit Free Press reports. “Net-net, it was a positive for the U.S. economy,” he said.