George W. Bush set into motion the auto bailout and temporary nationalization of GM a year and a half ago.

GM has recovered faster than its critics would have liked. The 2011 Chevy Volt is perhaps the ideal symbol of the revitalized company that just posted its first profit in years.  (Source: Earth 2 Tech)
The bailout appears to have worked

"Government Motors", "socialism in the U.S." -- the insults and criticisms hurled at General Motors and the U.S. government, which spent billions to bail it out of bankruptcy have hardly been subtle.  However, a year after GM bled $6B USD in a single quarter, the nation's largest industrial bankruptcy is slowly becoming a success story, as GM has posted its first profit in three years.

For the Obama and Bush administrations who crafted the first and second bailouts of the automaker its not vindication of their policy of temporary government intervention in the private sector, but its a start.

GM reports that it made $865M USD in the first quarter of the year and saw net revenue rise from $22.4B USD to $31.5B USD.  In April the company sold 183,997 cars and trucks, up 6.4 percent from the 173,007 it sold a year ago.

Chris Liddell, vice chairman and chief financial officer, comments, "In North America we are adding production to keep up with strong demand for new products in our four brands.  We're also steadily growing in emerging markets, keeping our costs under control, generating positive cash flow and maintaining a strong balance sheet."

The profit may pale in comparison to Ford Motor Company's $2B USD profit it posted last month, but it's perhaps a bigger deal given just how bad shape GM was in last year.  The turnaround did not come easy.  The Obama administration hand-picked CEO, Fritz Henderson was forced into a messy resignation amid failed deals.  And GM only barely managed to offload some of its laggard brands such as Saab and Hummer.

Still, a year later a leaner GM has emerged.  

The company has already paid back all its government loans years ahead of schedule, using some of the bailout money it had from the government's purchase of a 61 percent stock stake.  A public offering of that GM stock should soon come, and with it the possibility that taxpayers could recoup most of the governments investment.  In fact, some analysts believed the government could even make a 
profit on its temporary buyout of GM stock.

With models like the 2011 Chevy Volt electric vehicle coming down the pipe later this year, GM seems exciting again.  And it's profitable.

So while it would be grossly inaccurate to bill the newfound success as a 
complete vindication of President Obama and President George W. Bush's tough decision to bail out the auto industry and prevent the largest industrial corporate collapse in our nation's history, the government's careful guidance of GM and the company's newfound success certainly offer the first conclusive indication that the bailouts might not have been the catastrophic failure that their opponents claimed they would be.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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