Harsanyi on the Czar

by Russ Roberts on December 10, 2008

in Intervention

Superb. One of the good parts:

Many people are asking: Why can’t these companies go bankrupt and
reorganize like everyone else? In bankruptcy court, the process allows
the auto industry to negotiate with creditors, stakeholders and

Well, the auto industry spent nearly $50 million lobbying Congress in
the first nine months of this year while unions spent hundreds of
millions to put Democrats in Washington. Those are two reasons.

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RomanH December 10, 2008 at 11:32 am

I'm amazed that people continue to believe that central planning of the economy might work. It never has before. I don't recall hearing about how great the stores and services were in the communist USSR.

Even if you had the best people trying to do it, they don't have the information to succeed. Add in political meddling, corruption, government inefficiency and the like, and you are guaranteed a fiasco.

John Smith December 10, 2008 at 11:37 am

The Case Against the Auto Bailout

1) If no conditions are attached, then the taxpayers would be forced to aid unaccountable companies.

2) If conditions are attached, then the taxpayers would be forced aid (quasi) nationalized companies.

3) Both scenarios are objectionable.

4) Ergo, the bailout is objectionable.

Carl Clegg on Tue, 9th Dec 2008

We cried foul when Hugo Chavez nationalized CANTV, the largest phone company in Venezuela, when he took over the oil companies.

And yet we sit back while our own government is nationalizing the insurance giants and car companies.

That used to be called hypocrisy.

The Reticulator December 10, 2008 at 11:44 am

John Smith: Exactly who is sitting back?

Speedmaster December 10, 2008 at 12:09 pm

Brutal, but quite true, I think.

Mace December 10, 2008 at 8:23 pm

To quote Bastiat:

"The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.”

Why should the auto companies be any different? Why would anyone be so stupid as to let it happen? Oh, I forgot, we're dealing with Congress.

Moggio December 11, 2008 at 4:05 pm

Russell, did you read this article by Milton Friedman about Chrysler's bailout in 1979 entitled "Chrysler: Are Jobs the Issue?" (Newsweek, Sept. 10, 1979) ???!!!

Nathan Bowers December 19, 2008 at 4:03 am

There's a hilarious comment on Harsanyi's piece:

"In the 90's the Government seized and then ran the famed Mustang Ranch, losing money and eventually closing it. If the Government cannot run a BROTHEL, how are they going to save the car biz?"

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