Of Course You're Not a Socialist, Mr. Rattner ...

Fri, 17 Apr 2009 12:22:21 +0000

My jaw would drop if I were on the receiving end of this, too:

At a meeting with executives from four of the nation's largest banks earlier this month, the chief of the government's auto task force, Steven Rattner, delivered a message that shocked some in the room.

To save Chrysler, he told them, the four banks and several other financial firms would have to surrender their claims to most of the $7 billion the automaker owed them. And what would the banks get in return for this sacrifice? Nothing.

But then again, my jaw isn't attached to someone who would have done what these financial firms have done. I don't care a whit about sparing these firms from the consequences of their decisions. I do care about the power grab by the executive and legislative branches of government that their dilapidated condition is enabling.

People complain that the word "socialist" is being inappropriately used to demonize attempts at restoring economic growth. That may be true in many cases, but how is the label not valid here? Government officials are making decisions about how to direct the means of production. And they are doing so without prior authorization or agreement and with the goal of sustaining employment in undproductive pursuits. What else would you call it? Some days it seems like the only things missing from this picture of collectivism are the the guns pointed at the citizens and the widespread starvation. But I suppose we are still at the beginning of this process.

Stop the bailouts. Start the bankruptcies.