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Lemon Socialism

For those keeping score at home, unlike a modest tax increase on a tiny number of people, this really would be socialism:

The U.S. Treasury would own at least a 50 percent stake in General Motors under a plan the company released today to avoid bankruptcy. […] Under the outlines announced yesterday, the federal government would take an equity stake of at least 50 percent, the United Auto Workers would take as much as 39 percent, the company’s bondholders would get 10 percent and the existing shareholders 1 percent.

I’m pretty queasy about this idea. Liquidating General Motors amidst a huge recession would be a disaster. But at the same time, a state-owned GM is going to be tricky. There are lots of non-GM car plants in the United States. And the public interest — in, for example, high-speed rail and walkable cities and mass transit and reduced climate emissions — by no means identical to the interests of a large automaker.

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