If I wanted our family to own shares in GM, then I would have bought some. Shame on our nation that we aren’t marching with torches and pitchforks over this outrage.
This is a watershed event in the advent of a completely government-controlled economy. The word “socialism” isn’t strong enough to describe it. Our messed-up version of socialism involves protecting at any cost the assets of the bunglers and fools who created our problems in the first place. It involves corporate welfare on an unprecedented scale, using borrowed or freshly printed Federal Reserve Notes. It is a twisted form of state control, where the profits are privatized and the losses are socialized. It is a giant step towards the loss of economic liberty, and therefore the arrival of tyranny.
We are being told that the public ownership of GM won’t last long, and that eventually we’ll get our money back. That of course is what were told about the AIG debacle, and what Nixon told us 40 years ago about the Amtrak takeover.
The brutal truth is that we will own GM in perpetutity, passing along losses to taxpayers so long as the UAW and the State of Michigan matter to politicians. By preventing the liquidation of GM, we prevent its assets from being acquired by businesses that could use them profitably, and employ the workers productively. For however long this outrage continues, workers making cars profitably in Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina, for example, will be taxed to subsidize workers making cars unprofitably in Detroit (and at much higher wages than them).
For a hundred years or so Dan River Mills was the largest employer in my hometown of Danville, Virginia. A cotton mill, it employed tens of thousands of people, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But in the post-NAFTA world, Dan River was doomed. Eventually it declared bankruptcy, its assets were purchased by a company in India, and its doors were closed forever. Many thousands of good, honest, hard-working people lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
But what if the federal government had acquired a controlling interest in Dan River, to keep it churning out sheets and towels at a loss? What if the taxpayers of America had assumed the burden of funding the company’s losses, to prevent the employees from losing their jobs?
What we now have is a goverment that can arbitrarily and capriciously decide which businesses to save, which to let die, and which to kill. Those decisions can be made in large part based upon whose political constituency is affected.
What might we call such a form of government?