What General Motors' Big Quarter Means

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The Obama administration has not had many success stories in the last year, with unemployment turning negative, growth turning anemic and Congress turning calcified. But this is cause for muted celebration: General Motors, turned "Government Motors" when Treasury took over the company and steered it through bankruptcy, is ready to drive off on its own power.

The automaker earned $1.3 billion in the second quarter of 2010, it's second consecutive positive profit report, and investors expect a public offering as soon as Friday.

The good news is coming from good places. Although the company cut 20,000 jobs and a dozen U.S. plants, the profits aren't coming all from cost cuts. Revenue grew from $32 billion to $33 billion in the second three months of the year. What's more, the company is seeing a strong North American market for its goods. While it's certainly not bad to have a strong overseas market, any indication that the American consumer is actually breathing out there is nice to hear.

There's lots of silver lining, but the dark cloud for tax payers is that an IPO won't end the government's significant stake in the company. As the Michigan Messenger reports, the federal government will reduce its stake in the company from about 60 percent to below 50 percent in the initial IPO, and sell off the rest of the taxpayers' stake in the company bit by bit.

Here's your Business Breakfast.


TRY BETTER THIS TIME

GM Is About to Go Public, Again: The automaker 61 percent owned by the U.S., is seeking to raise $12 billion to $16 billion in an initial public offering [Bloomberg]

PAYBACK TIME

We're Stealing From the Banks, Too: Home owners borrowed a trillion from banks in the boom. They're not paying it back, and banks are afraid to collect, for fear of pushing families into bankruptcy. [NYT]

FIRING CRISIS HIRING CRISIS

Employers Slow to Fill Open Spots: So frustrating: More open positions are disguising the fact that employers are hiring slower than usual [WSJ]

GAMBLES

Governor Christie Wants to Turn Around Atlantic City: A state-controlled tourism district around the casinos would oversee policing, development of the famous boardwalk and the casinos alongside it, and upgrades of nearby blighted streets [BW]

OUCH

Austerity Hurting Greece More Than Expected [Reuters]

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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