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It’s already happening. Yesterday the Senate held hearings on the auto bailout. Go to about the one hour twenty minute point, and you’ll see a bipartisan parade of Senators demonstrating their reluctance to run a car company. You can see Herb Kohl (D., Wisc.) snarl about the closing of a factory in his state, and Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R., Tex.) repeat the question that pretty much every senator asked — How can you close the following profitable dealers (i.e., significant campaign contributors) in my state? On this topic, you’ll get treated to Sen. Robert Bennett (R., Utah) explaining how the restructuring plan will leave “no Chrysler dealers between Provo and Las Vegas.”

At one level, their logic is impeccable. The taxpayers have invested $50 billion to purchase majority ownership of GM for at least partially public purposes, so they are doing what legislators do: fight for their slice of the cake. But it’s a heck of a way to run a railroad.


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