The Corner

‘We own the automobile companies. Why not?’

“You might look at Congress,” a liberal health-policy expert once mused about the Medicare program, “as the board of directors of the largest health insurer in the world.” That is surely the case. Now, with government takeovers of heretofore large and private industrial entities like General Motors and Chrysler, we have reached the point where lawmakers view themselves as members of other boards as well.

See Sen. Tom Harkin’s unguarded moment below from today’s Des Moines Register for one such example:

Harkin wants ethanol measures in climate bill

By Philip Brasher

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Tom Harkin said he wants Congress to use a climate bill to force auto companies to make new cars and trucks capable of running on 85 percent ethanol as well as conventional gasoline.

“We own the automobile companies. Why not? I think that will be an easy one,” Harkin said Thursday, referring to the government interests in Chrysler and General Motors.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said recently that all new vehicles should be equipped to run on E85. GM, Chrysler and Ford have been voluntarily making some E85-capable cars and trucks for years but have resisted being required to fit all cars for the fuel.


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