Meet a GM bondholder

He's not always a hedge fund investor or some Wall Street fat cat. Dennis Buchholtz is a retired trade worker from Warren, Mich. He purchased GM bonds in 2005 and owns $91,000 worth, what he says is a very sizeable portion of his retirement income. And with GM on the verge of filing for Chapter 11, he's in a heap of trouble. Buchholtz, writing an oped in today's WSJ, doesn't appreciate being the fall guy for a company that is struggling to stay afloat.

I am a retired dye-making trade worker and even worked in the auto industry during my career. I don't understand why the government is penalizing people like me just for having funded my retirement with GM bonds. Bondholders, especially small bondholders, are being ignored in negotiations and singled out to bear the greatest share of the cost of restructuring GM.

We are not an unreasonable group. We understand that to save GM everyone will need to endure economic pain. But we are very troubled by the government's decision to give UAW retirees -- equal members, with the bondholders, of the unsecured creditor class -- preferential treatment. The government cannot be permitted to rewrite bankruptcy rules on a whim to selectively benefit equal groups.

Most bondholders figure they're better off taking their chances in bankruptcy court rather than acquiesce to the government's offer to exchange their debt for a tiny share of the company. Can't say I blame them.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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