A Win for Gangster Government

The White House will hail today’s Chrysler repayment of government loans as a victory for a president that bravely fought off naysayers to do the right — if not the popular — thing by rescuing Chrysler and the U.S. economy.


Trample the rights of secured bondholders, threaten investors, unilaterally restructure labor overhead, and mold the bankruptcy code to your liking, and any company with the awesome powers of the White House behind it could turn around its fortunes. This is a victory for “gangster government” as Michael Barone put it. Dismiss the ugly evidence, and – sure – this bailout was a model taxpayer rescue.

While we can dismiss the White House’s straw-man argument that critics of the Detroit bailout would have left GM for the vultures, it is true that Chrysler was in jeopardy. For all of its brash energy, talent, and segment-breaking products, this was a firm that had already been through one federal bailout, multiple owners, and lacked the product diversity to survive in the long term.

That is still the case.

Chrysler survived for one reason — a bipartisan agreement that an already weak economy could not survive the domino effect of a major auto company going under.

 “The simple fact is that an uncontrolled collapse of the Detroit-based auto industry . . . carried enormous political and economic risks for whoever sat in the Oval Office, regardless of political party,” writes my Detroit News colleague Dan Howes.

That, and Democrats intervened on behalf of a key special interest, Big Labor, and gave the company free to Fix-It-Again-Tony. That is a debatable foundation for an enterprise that must do battle against the likes of non-union Hyundai.

Mission Accomplished? Stay tuned.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More