GM Bankruptcy: Where Both The Left And The Right Can Agree

The government stake in General Motors restructuring isn't good for the

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(Note: consider this post a preview of the kind of posts I will be making at the blog I am taking over, Capital Commerce. More on that very soon.)

Robert Reich had an interesting op-ed on General Motors in the Financial Times yesterday. It's interesting because despite the fact that Reich is one of the country's best left-leaning pundits, some parts of the op-ed taken out of context would not read out of place on the Wall Street Journal editorial page.

The purpose cannot be to create a new, lean, debt-free company that might one day turn a profit. That is what the private sector is supposed to achieve on its own and what a reorganisation under bankruptcy would do.

To be fair, Reich does criticize people who would "let markets work their will," saying that there should be more money spent on unemployment insurance (although I don't agree that support for retraining programs is necessarily incompatible with the free-market view.) But on the larger point about the federal government's majority share of GM, the right and left seem to be in agreement that ordinary taxpayers will lose out and that this bankruptcy would be less risky if it wasn't essentially run by the government.

Obama wanted to bring a less ideological, post-partisan politics to Washington, and in this case he seems to be succeeding. But that doesn't mean the result is good policy.


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