We’ve heard a lot of arguments on all sides of the bailout, but we had yet to hear anyone call for prolonged government ownership and involvement in General Motors… until now. What follows is a letter from Ralph Nader, former NHTSA boss Joan Claybrook, Center for Auto Safety honcho Clarence Ditlow and Public Citizen president Robert Weissman, urging the Obama administration to suspend GM’s IPO and take firmer control of the government-owned automaker’s decisions on a number of issues including lobbying, employment and the environment. Because, despite appearing to be stuck in the 70s, Nader and company have never heard of British Leyland. Taste the madness below.
Dear President Obama,
The U.S. government bailout of, and acquisition of a majority share in, General Motors was anexceptional action, taken in response to exceptional circumstances. The U.S. stake in GM obviously poses novel managerial challenges to the government. The appropriate response to those challenges, however, is not to run from the responsibility through passive ownership and premature sale at a loss to taxpayers.