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The Camel In the Tent

My latest column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is here; it shows, I suppose, that I'm losing my sunny outlook on the future.

Here are some central paragraphs:

But the most egregious problem with this salary cap, as with all
other restrictions and requirements that are attached to bailout funds,
is that it sets a frightening precedent. Government is now increasingly
in the business of determining salaries and deciding whether firms can
have private jets. These matters — salaries and jets — are lightning
rods for public attention. So they are, ipso facto, lightning rods for politicians' attention.

You can bet your grandchildren's share of the national debt,
however, that other corporate matters will become lightning rods of
attention — and, hence, objects of self-righteously imposed government

Is Bank of America spending oodles of money on advertising? Horrors!
Make it stop. Is General Motors planning to install machinery that will
displace some workers? Never! Make it stop. Is Chrysler appointing yet
another middle-aged straight white male as its president? Racist
homophobic chauvinists! Make them appoint a handicapped lesbian of

Whatever the political fear or fad du jour, be sure that it will be revealed in gaudy orders given by Washington to whatever firms feasted on its bailout bounty.