Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tennessee's Sen. Alexander wants to give taxpayers GM, Chrysler stock

Lamar AlexanderBy G. Chambers Williams III • THE TENNESSEAN • June 5, 2009

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander believes he has the best plan to get the federal government out of the car business: distribute the government's shares of stock in the reorganized General Motors and Chrysler to the American taxpayers.

Tennessee's senior senator introduced a bill Thursday that would give shares of the stock of the two automakers to each of the approximately 120 million Americans who paid income taxes on April 15. [full article]


Way to go Senator Alexander! Excellent idea!

President Obama has said the Government had no desire to run GM despite taking a majority stake in the company. He has said the U.S. is a “reluctant shareholder” in General Motors. He has said, "Our goal is to help GM get back on its feet ... and get out quickly," I am taking these statements with a grain of salt. Frankly, I don’t believe him. Obama has already forced out one GM CEO and had put in place someone more to his liking. He has already said what kind of cars he expects GM to produce. If, however, Obama is honest in saying the Government has no desire to run GM and wants to get the Government out of the car business, then supporting Alexander’s proposal is an excellent way to prove it. I don’t expect him to do that.

Unfortunately with a Democratic dominated Congress and one party rule, I do not expect Alexander’s bill to get very far. After nationalizing a large portion of the industrial segment of the American economy, I doubt Democrats will want to privatize it anytime soon. I doubt Obama really wants to step down as de facto CEO of General Motors. Now, the administration can decide which plants to close and which remain open, influence which dealerships close and which ones don’t, can dictate the kind of cars that are produced and dictate what wages are paid. That is power!

In the future, having a recommendation from a congressman who is on good terms with the administration will probably be the way one gets a job at a GM plant. How a district voted will determine which plants are closed and which are expanded. I suspect that businessmen who made the right political contributions will have a better shot at getting a dealership franchise. Why would those who thirst after more and more power and believe government knows best want to voluntarily give up that power? Even if someday Republicans regain control of Congress, they may also be reluctant to give up this power. They may pick a different set of winners and loosers but will probably be in no hurry to privitize. Power is adictive and corrupting.

While I don’t expect Alexander’s proposal to get very far, I applaud him for proposing it.

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1 comment:

  1. I like the idea as well, but you are right in that it won't go very far. I expect it will get as far as Louie Gohmert's proposal for a two month tax withholding holiday instead of spending the second half of the TARP moneyh