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I, Barack Obama
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
By Terence P. Jeffrey
President Obama said Monday that General Motors’ bankruptcy plan is viable, achievable and will help automaker move toward profitability.(AP photo)President Obama used the first-person singular pronoun "I" 34 times on Monday when he announced he was nationalizing General Motors.
He used “Congress” once and “law” not at all.
As Obama described it, the government takeover of General Motors was Obama’s decision made for Obama’s reasons.
“Just over two months ago, I spoke with you in this same spot about the challenges facing our auto industry, and I laid out what needed to be done to save two of America's storied automakers,” said Obama.
“From the beginning, I made it clear that I would not put any more tax dollars on the line if it meant perpetuating the bad business decisions that had led these companies to seek help in the first place,” he said. “I refused to let these companies become permanent wards of the state, kept afloat on an endless supply of taxpayer money. In other words, I refused to kick the can down the road.”
To prevent GM from becoming a ward of the state, Obama made it the property of the state.
“I decided then,” said the first person in chief, “that if GM and their stakeholders were willing to sacrifice for their companies' survival ... then the United States government would stand behind them.”
Here, I, Barack virtually identified himself with the United States government.
He did not say he would ask Congress to enact legislation to provide the executive with the funds needed to purchase 60 percent of GM or with the legal authority to restructure the company and oversee its business plan.
He said: “I decided then ... the United States government would stand behind them.”
Remember: In December, Congress specifically declined to enact legislation authorizing the president to bail out the auto industry--let alone to purchase an auto company. What law now gives Obama authority to buy General Motors? The White House says, when pressed, it is the Troubled Asset Relief Program. But that legislation was written specifically to allow the Treasury Department to purchase assets from “financial institutions.” It says nothing about buying auto companies.
And if Congress has not enacted a law authorizing the president to take ownership of an auto company, who will say when he must surrender it?
And where does the Constitution say the government can take ownership of an auto company, let alone at the individual initiative of a president who cannot point to a duly enacted law that clearly expresses the deliberated will of the people that he should have that power.
The first person in chief explained on Monday how he first vetoed and then approved GM’s and Chrysler’s restructuring plans in order to make them undergo the “sweeping changes” he deemed appropriate.
“The original restructuring plans submitted by GM and Chrysler earlier this year did not call for the sweeping changes these companies needed to survive--and I couldn't in good conscience proceed on that basis,” said I, Barack.
Since then, Obama explained, the new GM CEO, who replaced the CEO Obama forced out, “has worked tirelessly to produce a plan that meets the strict standards that I laid out at the beginning.”
He dared not buck I, Barack.
Eventually, Obama said he was putting another $30 billion in tax dollars into GM on top of the nearly $20 billion the company has already received.
“Understand, we’re making these investments not because I want to spend the American people’s tax dollars, but because I want to protect them,” said I, Barack. “What we are doing--what I have no interest in doing--is running GM.”
This passage may be more worthy of the used car salesman in chief than the colossus who just seized an auto company.
I, Barack may claim he does not want to run GM but in almost the same breath he says he will guarantee GM warranties and that the “new GM” will produce the cars he envisions.
“And I want to remind everyone that if you are considering buying a GM car during this period of restructuring, your warranties will be safe and government-backed,” said Obama.
“So I’m confident,” said I, Barack, “that the steps I’m announcing today will mark the end of the old GM and the beginning of the new GM; a new GM that can produce the high-quality, safe and fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow; that can lead America towards an energy independent future; and is once more a symbol of America's success.”
I, Barack’s GM will never be a symbol of America’s success. Unless Congress begins asserting its constitutional authority in defense of free enterprise, however, it will be concrete evidence of America’s slide into socialism--a system where the state controls the means of production as a means of controlling the people.