A funny thing happened the other day in my cozy little enclave of California’s Marin County, where a registered Republican is as rare as a three-toed sloth. Our local Bank of Marin announced that it wanted to give back its TARP money. Apparently the well-heeled bank wasn’t troubled, had adequate assets, and really didn’t need a bailout.
But since Treasury was running amuck tossing bags of newly printed money at banks of all description, the Bank of Marin reasoned that it shouldn’t be left out. Then its management discovered the strings attached. If you’ve ever borrowed money from a relative, you know what a bad idea it is. And good old Sam appears to be the uncle from hell as a creditor.
Unfortunately, GM and Chrysler didn’t have the luxury of politely declining our largess. At this point, unless a miracle occurs and either one (most likely GM) can repay its loan, the result will look a lot like any other state-run automotive enterprise — think former Eastern Block cars. Of course, in our free market, we won’t have to buy the vehicles that Barack and company built. That’s a nice theory, but don’t bet your Lehman Brothers shares on it, since protectionism is regaining stature with our current crop of legislators.
Recently, the administration’s automotive team descended on Detroit for some fact checking. I haven’t discovered yet how they traveled to Motown. I’m pretty sure they didn’t drive, since these folks are busy and important and can hardly waste their collective time in traffic. For that matter, with the hassle of airlines and TSA, a commercial flight seems like an unreasonable burden. Perhaps the speaker of the house lent them her government plane. That Boing 757 should be large enough to fit the automotive team, even in executive configuration. But if it’s not available, we taxpayers have provided a whole gaggle of executive aircraft standing by for government junkets.