From Politico, The President told General Motor’s CEO to hit the road:

The surprise announcement about the classically iconic American corporation is perhaps the most vivid sign yet of the tectonic change in the relationship between business and government in this era of subsidies and bailouts.

There’s a wealth of sacrifice to be spread:

Obama said Friday in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” broadcast Sunday, that the carmakers were going to have to do more.

“There’s been some serious efforts to deal with a combination of long-standing problems in the auto industry,” the president told host Bob Schieffer. “What we’re trying to let them know is that we want to have a successful auto industry, U.S. auto industry. We think we can have a successful U.S. auto industry. But it’s got to be one that’s realistically designed to weather this storm and to emerge at the other end much more lean, mean and competitive than it currently is.

“And that’s gonna mean a set of sacrifices from all parties involved — management, labor, shareholders, creditors, suppliers, dealers. Everybody’s gonna have to come to the table and say it’s important for us to take serious restructuring steps now in order to preserve a brighter future down the road.”

Since a large part of GM’s financial quagmire is due to legacy union benefit costs, will GM retirees be expected to sacrifice them?  And how about the head of the United Auto Workers Union, the organization that negotiated those benefits?  Will he be shown the door, too?

There’s a government Task Force dealing with this:

The Obama administration calls its task force “a cabinet-level group that includes the secretaries of Transportation, Commerce, Labor and Energy. It will also include the chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, the EPA administrator, and the director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change. The Task Force will be led by Treasury Secretary [Tim] Geithner and [National Economic Council] Director Larry Summers.”

The panel’s chief adviser is Steven Rattner, a well-known investment banker and former New York Times reporter.

A bunch of Federal bureaucrats led by the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, as witnessed by the TARP debacle.  Does anyone seriously believe this group can design any organization that is “much more lean, mean and competitive than it currently is?”

Speaking of TARP, The Foundry notes a disturbing connection:

This adds a new and troubling dimension to Obama’s summoning of 13 chief executives of the nation’s largest financial institutions to the White House this past Friday. Asked about that meeting on Sunday, Obama replied:

“I said to those folks, let me help you – help me help you. It’s very difficult for me as president to call on the American people to make sacrifices to help shore up the financial system if there’s no sense of mutual obligation and mutual help.”

Translation: play ball with my government or it’s your head. The bankers got the message. The New York Times headline read: “Bankers Pledge Cooperation With Obama.”

It’s because of TARP:

The common evil in all of this is the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Originally sold to the American people as an acutely targeted program to rid the financial sector of toxic mortgage assets, the Troubled Asset Relief Program quickly lost all coherence and eventually became a slush fund for White House political prerogatives.

During the Presidential campaign, Obama asked voters to make a leap of faith and vote for him.  Now our free market heritage is going over a cliff.

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