Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day of the moochers

On Monday, General Motors announced that it would be closing one of its parts facility in the city of Norton, Massachusetts to cut costs.

Now Norton lies in the constituency of Barney Frank, a US Congressman, and he did what he had to do when he heard about it. Frank lobbied GM CEO Fritz Henderson and "urged him to reevaluate the center's value to GM". The "urging" worked (remember that the federal government now owns 60% of GM, and Barney Frank, the Chairman of the House Financial Committee, is a powerful politician) and by Thursday, GM said it will keep the plan open another 14 months.

"Hundreds of CEOs for General Motors", cried out the Wall Street Journal, but Frank was unmoved.

When asked if he was concerned about the government meddling with General Motors, he replied:
That's a very odd question. If the government hadn't 'meddled' in General Motors, there would be no General Motors. 'Meddle' is what you say when you don't like it. 'Involve' is what you say when you do.
The sad thing is, he is right. And that is a very, very good reason to be wary of the government in the marketplace, whether it seem helpful or not.

Footnote: Barney Frank looks like the stereotypical dirty politician from popular media. Having his face in your mind's eye when reading the above quote definitely adds character to the words. Try it now:

He is frank, seriously

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