On the very day that Barack Obama announced new fuel efficiency and emissions limits for American cars, Reuters reported that when General Motors goes bankrupt it would be selling its best asset to … Barack Obama.
Fair is fair.
If Obama owns GM he can tell them what kinds of cars to build, at what prices they should be sold, how many seats the UAW should have on their board of directors, and just about anything else he thinks of while eating his morning bran flakes.
In 1953, Charles Erwin Wilson, then GM president, was named by President Dwight Eisenhower as Secretary of Defense.
When he was asked during the hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee if as secretary of defense he could make a decision adverse to the interests of General Motors, Wilson answered affirmatively but added that he could not conceive of such a situation "because for years I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa."
After what we learned yesterday, in a very real sense: What's good for General Motors IS America.
According to the Reuters piece, the government will extend a line of credit to the company it owns, and will forgive the $15.4 billion in loans it has already provided to the company it owns. If you own something, it just makes sense to forgive the debt to yourself.
Obama will be able to hire and fire executives; decide which dealerships can remain and which must close; how much union workers (and everyone else) should be paid; how much suppliers can charge, and everything else that goes along with owning a major manufacturing company.
He will also determine how much, if anything private lenders - banks and bondholders - will get when GM goes belly-up. Forget about that pesky, quaint business about the sanctity of contracts. That was the old way. This is the new way. This is the OBAMA WAY!
If "change" is what America voted for last November, then "change" is what we're getting.
At some point someone is going to file a suit in Federal court asking for clarity as to just where in the U.S. Constitution it is provided that the Executive Branch can buy a bankrupt car company.
Actually, this might be a good thing for Republicans. When a faceless corporation - or worse yet - a faceless and heartless bankruptcy court - closes down thousands of dealerships in thousands of towns, it's hard to know where to aim your ire.