So over the weekend, from what I gather, the administration told one CEO to take a hike and told both companies "Thou Shalt Do What We Command." And of course, the way yesterday's political schpiel kept hammering the "we don't want the auto manufacturers to become 'wards of the state'" motif, immediately to my mind raises a legion of red flags all saying that's precisely what they do want. On the other hand, despite the usual wailing and gnashing of teeth from the "It's only bad when THEIR GUY does it!" contingent, I can't see how anybody is surprised by this move.
Let's face it, the government doesn't need to come marching in with tanks when they can just buy controlling interest in the friggin' company. As soon as bailouts showed up , the fact that the government would end up calling the shots was inevitable. As they say in plumbing, "He who pays the piper calls the tune."
In short, there is no coercion of the car companies here: it's all Pavlovian. "You want money, boy? You want money? Sit up! Beg! Roll over! Restructure your management! Good lap dog!"
Upset that the government is nationalizing companies? You should be!
Believe it would be any different with Bush still in the White House? You're deluding yourself.
Think the poor car companies are being bullied? They're not. They sold their soul to the government. That gives the government the right to do what they please on that score.
At the end of the day, this maneuver is only possible because the government has the vast resources of the American taxpayer base — whose money of course is extracted by tanks, or at least by men with guns who'll shoot you if you decide that your hard-earned money is yours alone. So yes, there is coercion going on — but it's small-scale coercion against millions of individuals, not the large-scale "forcing" of the auto industry to shape itself up.
So if you want to be mad about something, be mad about the fact that this government acquisition of the car industry was done by stolen funds. And the next time you want government funding for something YOU think is A Good Thing™, think about how much of your own soul you're selling.
Comments turned off. I don't want to hear it.
 Y'know, during the BUSH administration? I don't get how people can not see that both "sides" are just two different flavors of the same sauce. Reps erode liberty from the right, Dems erode liberty from the left. Both sides are all about control.