President George Bush pushed the government into taking ownership stakes in major portions of private corporations. Think banks, unclassifiable financial institutions, and auto companies.
Bush saw the role of government as one of simply giving these private companies tons of taxpayer money. No controls. No strings. Just a mega-sized Christmas gift from Uncle.
CEO’s said “Thanks,” and pledged to do better in the future. Yet, they didn’t change the way they did business: performance bonuses, parties, perks, kept flowing. Super-sized Las Vegas junkets — far more lavish than required for mere meetings or constructive work — remained on the agenda. Executive penthouses were remodeled, and the free market continued to, uh…, “flourish”.
The government seemed to expect the same corporate leaders to do the same things, but get a different financial result.
The assumptions were insane. Or, at best unsustainable and illogical.
Losses continued to mount, and the corporations have come back again and again.
The anger at AIG and its “contractually required” bonuses was spawned from pure frustration over the continuation of upper-class arrogance.
Now President Obama’s administration has laid down specific terms for continued support of the automobile companies. It will be smeared by charges of socialism and overreaching government control of private enterprise.
We cannot fall for the arguments of verbal hacks claiming class warfare against the rich or creeping socialism. President Bush and the Republicans, not President Obama and the Democrats, injected government into the private sector. The difference in actions is that President Obama is ordering appropriate change of policies so that these profligate corporations can eventually succeed.
Rick Wagoner, auf Wiedersehen. And, good riddance.