Socialism-To-Save-Crony-Capitalism

Is the General Motors takeover socialism, capitalism, or something else?

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Ezra Klein says on the GM takeover:

In the case of the financial crisis, socialist policies were understood as the alternative to the collapse of capitalism, and in the case of Detroit, the alternative to the collapse of a major private industry that was temporarily unable to access credit due to the aforementioned near-collapse of capitalism. This has been, at least in the Obama administration's estimation, socialism-to-save-capitalism, which rather distinguishes it from the project of more traditional socialists.

While I agree with his larger point that conservatives go too far when they call Obama a socialist overall, "socialism-to-save-capitalism" is not exactly right. Socialism-to-save-capitalism would be the government intervening to preserve a competitive marketplace--by, say, offering money to retrain laid-off workers. That's not what we're talking about with GM. We're seeing socialism-to-save- certain- capitalists--a specific group of businesspeople and their workers who are lucky enough to have the government's favor. Many other capitalists have had to shut down because they don't have those connections.

Now, there's certainly a case to be made that the government should be favoring GM because of its importance to the economy. But it's still government deeming that some players in the economy need to be winners, while others are allowed to be losers. Maybe it's far from "traditional socialism" in terms of scale, but not in kind.