NYT Op-Ed: GM Plan Will Ruin Bond Market

Amb. James K. Glassman

Amb. James K. Glassman

Executive Director of The George W. Bush Institute and Expert on Issues Involving Economics, Technology and Financial Markets

Mere days before GM filed for bankruptcy, James K. Glassman, former under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs in the George W. Bush administration, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times warning that President Obama's plan for the nation's largest auto company will destroy faith in the bond market. He explains why below:

General Motors bondholders have until 5 p.m. on Saturday to accept a parsimonious offer to exchange their loans for stock and warrants. Most likely, enough of the creditors will say no to force G.M. into bankruptcy. But there is no escaping the long-term damage that has been inflicted on credit markets by the Obama administration’s attempts to reward the United Auto Workers, one of the president’s strongest supporters in the last election, while trampling decades of legal precedent regarding owners of corporate debt.

The G.M. debacle is déjà vu all over again. In the Chrysler bankruptcy arranged by the government in April, bondholders also got short shrift, while the union, which might have received little or nothing in a normal bankruptcy, was awarded 55 percent of the company.

What’s my interest in this? I head a nonprofit group that encourages developing nations to adopt policies that will lead to prosperity — starting with transparency and the rule of law — and hold up America as a model. Yet in its high-handed dealings with Chrysler and G.M., the Obama administration reminds me of an irresponsible third-world regime, skirting the law and handing economic prizes to political cronies.

Under the complicated G.M. plan, bondholders — ranging from large institutions to low-income retirees — would receive just 10 percent of the reorganized company, plus warrants that would enable them to get 15 percent more should the company’s value reach certain levels, in return for their $27 billion in loans. The government, which could end up putting $70 billion into G.M., would initially get 72.5 percent of the company.

Read the entire article here.

James K. Glassman is the president of World Growth, a nonprofit economic-development group. For information on how to bring him to your next event, visit www.premierespeakers.com/james_glassman.

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