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Will: Obama's auto takeover another exercise in government futility

In today's Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will picks apart Barack Obama's futile plan to resurrect the American auto industry -- by placing it in the fumbling iron grip of the very government and unions that drove it into bankruptcy.

Gulliver's travels took him to the Academy of Lagado, where "professors contrive new rules and methods" for everything: "One man shall do the work of ten; a palace may be built in a week, of materials so durable as to last forever without repairing. All the fruits of the earth shall come to maturity at whatever season we think fit to choose, and increase a hundredfold more than they do at present." There was, however, the "inconvenience" that "none of these projects" had yet come to fruition and "the whole country lies miserably waste." But "instead of being discouraged," people were "fifty times more violently bent upon prosecuting their schemes," which included "extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers."

At the Academy of Obama, professors and others devise plans for extracting a new and improved automobile industry from a semi-sort-of-bankruptcy arrangement that -- if it survives judicial scrutiny; that is not certain -- will give the United Auto Workers 39 percent of General Motors, with the government owning 50 percent. During future contract negotiations, will the union's adversary be an administration that the union helped to put in power...

...The president has chosen to blame "speculators" -- a.k.a. investors; anyone who buys a share of a company's stock is speculating about the company's future -- for Chrysler's bankruptcy and the dubious legality of his proposal. Yet he simultaneously says he hopes that private investors will begin supplanting government as a source of capital for the companies. Breathes there an investor/speculator with such a stunted sense of risk that he or she would go into business with this capricious government?

Its chief executive says: "If the Japanese can design [an] affordable, well-designed hybrid, then, doggone it, the American people should be able to do the same." Yes they can -- if the American manufacturer can do what Toyota does with the Prius: Sell its hybrid without significant, if any, profit and sustain this practice, as Toyota does, by selling about twice as many of the gas-thirsty pickup trucks that the president thinks are destroying the planet..

Will's conclusion, which you will have to click here or buy a Post to read, should be coming from the mouths of every elected official.

The recent announcement that Chrysler will go into bankruptcy after accepting billions in bailout funds -- leaving taxpayers at a loss succeeding in placing the company in the hands of government and Obama's campaign supporters -- is a crystallized example of Obama's folly.  While it will fail in its stated mission of restoring General Motors and Chrysler to their former glory, it will succeed in its intended mission of shoveling billions of taxpayer dollars into a self-destructing union that funded Obama into office, giving the UAW a taxpayer-funded stay of execution.

Libertarians believe struggling automakers should isolate unprofitable operations, declare bankruptcy, reorganize finances and then focus on producing cars Americans want, not the cars Obama orders them to build.

Please click here to read Will's column, or if it's offered in your area go out and pick up a copy of The Washington Post.