Wednesday, April 1, 2009

We Don't Want to Run GM - Well, Yes We Do

On Monday, that's two days ago, President Obama said: "the United States government has no interest in running GM."

The Washington Post reports in today's edition:

The Obama administration will play a key role in reshaping General Motors’ board of directors over the next six months, potentially giving it even greater control in the management of the storied American manufacturer.

The president’s auto task force plans to consult with the company as it replaces a majority of its board...

The president said Monday that “the United States government has no interest in running GM.” But in practice it is already exerting tremendous influence over it, a situation that has triggered fierce debate over how much power the government should wield over the companies that it aids.

Monday: We don't want to run GM. Wednesday: We're going to run GM.

"There will be continuing coordination as decisions about the leadership of the company are made," a White House official said yesterday. "Folks from the autos task force will be involved in those decisions."

How many members of the President's Autos Task Force, comprised of 21 people, do you think have any significant experience in the automobile manufacturing industry? I'm sure you all know the answer: Zero.

At least someone in Washington understands how significant this is:

"They have opened Pandora's box -- the U.S. government has decided they know better than the private company," said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) "There is no question that this country is moving down a very different and foreign path. We have crossed this threshold: We own this company and we are telling it what to do."

What country is this again? Well, at least we're not Sweden, right? From the New York Times, we learn that the Swedish government is actually not going to save Saab motors.

[T]he Swedish government has responded to Saab’s desperate financial situation by saying, essentially, tough luck. Or, as the enterprise minister, Maud Olofsson, put it recently, “The Swedish state is not prepared to own car factories.”

Unlike President Obama, Ms. Olofsson actually means it. US policy is more socialist than Sweden. No, really, what country is this?

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