The Economist sees a surprising success in last year's auto bail-out:
Lovers of free markets (including The Economist) feared that Mr Obama might use GM as a political tool: perhaps favouring the unions who donate to Democrats or forcing the firm to build smaller, greener cars than consumers want to buy. The label “Government Motors” quickly stuck, evoking images of clunky committee-built cars that burned banknotes instead of petrol—all run by what Sarah Palin might call the socialist-in-chief. [...]
But by and large Mr Obama has not used his stakes in GM and Chrysler for political ends. On the contrary, his goal has been to restore both firms to health and then get out as quickly as possible. GM is now profitable again and Chrysler, managed by Fiat, is making progress. Taxpayers might even turn a profit when GM is sold.
The post ends on a smart note, "The lesson for American voters is that their president, for all his flaws, has no desire to own the commanding heights of industry." Exactly. Republicans might think that the president is a socialist who wants to regiment the economy into an unending series of Five-Year Plans, but the truth is that he has no interest in government-run industry. If Obama is trying to get rid of a company even when there's nothing to stop him from doing the opposite, then odds are good that he isn't a socialist.
-- Jamelle Bouie
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