Blog author: jballor
Thursday, April 9, 2009

AS NYT columnist Frank Rich observed earlier this week, it’s hard to find much sympathy for Rick Wagoner. “Sure, Rick Wagoner deserved his fate,” writes Rich. “He did too little too late to save an iconic American institution from devolving into a government charity case.”

The delusions of the CEOs who lined up on Capitol Hill last year to lobby for bailouts extended beyond the arrogance of flying to congressional meetings in private jets. Duly chastened, the CEOs next made the pilgrimage in a caravan of hybrids, but still didn’t realize that some of them might be lobbying to lose their jobs.

If they had realized that in getting a government bailout they would be getting far more than they expected, they might have thought longer and harder about taking public money. I’m sure that Ford CEO Alan Mulally is happy that his company is the only one of the Big 3 that isn’t currently beholden to the whims of the federal government.

Companies who take government money are going to learn what charities who have gone on the government dole learned long ago: he who writes the checks ultimately calls the shots. In biblical parlance, “the borrower is servant to the lender.”

The fate of Rick Wagoner should be a cautionary tale to all those companies who are considering government bailouts, just as the fate of so many faith-based nonprofits serve as warnings to those who want government subsidies.

  • Tracy Jue

    Just recently city governments and counties have received government subsidies for road construction and upgrades on transportation bridges etc from the federal government. I have never seen the city and county jump into action. California as populated as it is most counties have asked millions of dollars to upgrade roads, reservoirs and community lands. I am not sure the money would place a dent into how much money all these upgrades will require. I sure know for one things cities and counties won’t be able to complete these projects with the money alloted to them. By next year they will be asking the Federal Goverment for more money. I am sure it is linked to the Federal Government involvement restricted them from finishing these jobs.