Government Control Into Perpetuity?

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Dec 12, 2008 10:16 PM
Language in the House-passed auto bailout bill seems to allow the "Car Czar" to dictate to automakers what cars they can make and how much they can charge for them -- at least under certain conditions (i.e., failure on the part of the companies to come up with a plan that meets the czar's approval).

So Democrats really believe that the government can find one person who is equipped to make these central planning decisions?  What if the person has an agenda of his own (for example., he decides that having "green" cars will make the car companies more "competitive" -- and is more important -- than consumers being able to choose larger cars)?

The point is that at least the car companies are incentivized only to produce cars that will be competitive in US markets -- that's how they will make money.  That's their sole mission.  But the "car czar" doesn't necessarily have that incentive (at least, not to the same degree).

Finally, has anyone heard of anything in any of this "bailout" legislation specifying a time and a manner that government oversight and control would end -- something like a certain period of solvency, or repayment of loans, or some other benchmark?  Or is the Obama administration and its ideological allies on Capitol Hill happy to have the government control American business into perpetuity?

And isn't there something a little ironic about the government -- the least profitable, most profligate, most inefficient entity in America -- presuming to tell companies how to do their business?