The WSJ reports that GM and the Obama administration have settled on a plan of de facto nationalization:
General Motors Corp. outlined a new turnaround plan that would leave the U.S. government controlling the auto maker, as it set up a showdown with bondholders that could determine whether the company lands in bankruptcy court.
Under the plan, GM is asking the Treasury Department for an additional $11.6 billion in loans, on top of the $15.4 billion it has already received. It envisions giving the government at least half ownership of the company as payment for half of the loans. …
The new plan was conceived in cooperation with an Obama administration team that rejected a Feb. 17 GM revamping plan, saying it didn't go far enough.
Which prompted Larry Ribstein to observe that "the once proud US auto industry will become a WPA project." Larry continues:
Which government agency will handle our complaints about the windshield wipers? Or can we go right to the president? Does this mean that the government will use regulation to hammer its competition? …
Well, at least the government won't have to worry about auto industry cooperation with its environmental or whatever agendas. We can replace corporate social responsibility with the more straightforward corporate social duty. And they will finally get me, by force of law, to invest in a car company.
But I do know this: they can harass me, they can torture me, they can force me to walk on a bed of nails, but I will never, ever, buy a government-built car.
Fair enough? But what if the unholy alliance of greens, UAW, protectionists, and Obamabots decide to start erecting barriers to foreign competition?
In any case, just how bad are the Obama cars likely to be? Fortunately, the guys at Top Gear have given us a glimpse of the future in their episode on commie cars. Watch it and weep: