If those numbers are correct, then no you are not missing much of anything. While the US government was originally designed to be a small, heavily restricted entity beholden to the people, politicians have found that they can both increase their own power and then sell it. This is what has happened to GM.
OpenSecrets.org shows that the UAW has spent a large amount of money in campaigns and lobbying and that 1/5 UAW officials have also previously held government positions. It also says that all the money spent on campaigns goes to democrats. http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=d000000070
That being said, I believe this is a simple case of selling favors. Campaign contributions, lobbying money, and government connected lobbyists bought the fact that GM was not permitted to go through a structured bankruptcy like every other (non-politically connected) bankrupt company where pensions and contracts would be renegotiated etc., and, instead, was bailed out ending in the big benefits seen by the unions.