In a blogger conference call yesterday Sen. Lamar Alexander explained his “Auto Stock for Every Taxpayer” plan that seeks, within a year of GM’s emergence from bankruptcy, to distribute the GM stock held by the government to the 120 million individuals who pay taxes. His aim, he explained, is to end the “political meddling” from Washington and also give GM a Green Bay Packer base of “interested fans.” He also announced he’ll be passing “a couple of times a week” Car Czar Award for political interference. The first winner: Rep. Barney Frank, who called up GM to prevent a warehouse closing in his state. (“There will be a never-ending supply of stories and I’ll have to pick and choose who to honor,” he explained in deadpan fashion.)
I asked about his reaction to the Supreme Court’s lifting of its stay on the Chrysler bankruptcy. He replied, “Private property and the rule of law are essential to the American character. And we have damaged both. Without both private property and the rule of law our system won’t function.” Later in the call he sounded a theme I expect we will hear more of from those trying to slow down the Obama juggernaut. He described “a troubling pattern of government take-overs” and then proceeded to tick them off: from banks to insurance firms to student loans to pay czars to car companies. And he warned: next up is healthcare.
What reaction has he gotten to his stock give-back plan from his Democratic colleagues? Why, they’ve been very quiet, he observed. Indeed, the Beltway politicians and bureaucrats are having way too much fun designing the cars of the future and telling the companies where to put their plants. Why stop now?