I participated in a conference call yesterday with Senator Alexander (R-TN) about his “Auto Stock for Every Taxpayer” bill; not to mention his “Car Czar” awards for government intervention in the car industry (his first one was to Barney Frank, for spreading intervention largess among his subjects). The general themse of the call was to discuss the problems inherent in making the government (in the abstract) an owner of a specific type of business; I don’t recall the word ‘nationalization’ being used in the call, but the word loomed there throughout. Not to mention its connotations.
The whole call is available here: my only – rather garbled, alas – question was on whether the general atmosphere of government intervention (and the specific one of Frank’s interference) gave credence to allegations of partisan Democratic interference in Chrysler dealership closings. Senator Alexander did not go so far as to endorse this theory, but he raised the important point that when you have an ‘incestuous relationship like this’ (his term) – which is to say, a direct relationship between the dealership and the government – allegations like these are credible. Even the appearance of impropriety is in fact a problem (I agree: it erodes trust in the government as being a reasonably impartial referee), and the only way to fix that is to get ownership out of the hands of the government.
And I really don’t have anything even semi-witty to say to end this, sorry. We just have to get the government out of the car industry. Simple as that.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.