I read over a great WSJ article, Politicians Butt In at Bailed-Out GM, which demonstrates the problems with government intervening heavily in the decisions of businesses. A few quotes:
Thomas Geisel, chief executive of New Jersey’s Sun Bancorp Inc., says the bank paid back its federal money in June because of legislation that imposed limits on bankers’ pay, among other areas. “Lawmakers let emotion and ego get in the way of making good business decisions,” he says.
“I was elected to represent the interests of Montana, not General Motors, which is something that GM should have considered before letting the federal government assume control of their company,” Rep. Rehberg said recently.
The best way to repay taxpayers is to run the business as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible,” Mr. Socia wrote. “Uncompetitive supplier agreements do not support this priority.” [In response to Montana senators' insistence that GM source supplies from a Montana mine].
I am not sure how much of GM’s ‘decision’ to let the federal government assume control was ultimately GM’s decisions, but regardless they now do have control and it will be interesting to see how what will happen with GM. Hopefully we’ll continue to have some transparency around the whole issue, so that we can tell if the government is able to run GM well. But from the sounds of it the federal government pushing GM around to chose certain suppliers who are constituents or reinstate a constituent’s contract for a dealership is putting the odds in favor of those libertarians who think the government has no role in running a business.