"The American government should not own a car company because it inevitably creates a conflict of interest; the federal government is financially invested in the company making the cars and is hoping to make (or at least not lose) money off their sales, at the same time that it is inspecting, investigating, regulating, and punishing both that company and its rivals."
In February 2010, by which time the era of Government Motors was well underway, Toyota faced claims that its cars were accelerating unexpectedly. Obama’s transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, testified before a House Appropriations subcommittee and, in the words of USA Today, “went nuclear in his tirade against Toyota,” declaring, “My advice is, if anybody owns one of these vehicles, stop driving it.” Toyota stock plunged
In March of this year, Toyota agreed to pay a $1.2 billion fine to settle a four-year federal criminal investigation into whether it properly reported safety complaints about the sudden acceleration of its vehicles to regulators. (Note that the alleged crime is failing to properly report the complaints, not manufacturing unsafe cars.)
Meanwhile, in 2007 and 2010, the NHTSA considered but ultimately declined to start a formal investigation of the GM vehicles and reports of air bags failing to deploy.
Thus the Obama administration’s Departments of Transportation and Justice came down like a ton of bricks on a Japanese automaker about unproven allegations of defects, while the government-owned American company continued to make and sell cars with proven potentially fatal defects, even after the chief of the NHTSA’s Defects Assessment Division twice proposed investigations....
...The American government should not own a car company because it inevitably turns the leader of the free world into a car salesman....[Obama] put his seal of approval on GM and its cars, again and again. His speeches from that era included pledges and promises that look awful in the light of what we now know. In a speech on June 1, 2009, President Obama said, “From the beginning, I made it clear that I would not put any more tax dollars on the line if it meant perpetuating the bad business decisions that had led these companies to seek help in the first place.”
Obama held a rally at the General Motors Lordstown Assembly Plant in Warren, Ohio, on September 15, 2009, touting the popularity of the Cobalt as he praised the Cash for Clunkers program....
The president and his fans find themselves insisting, simultaneously, (a) that losing $10.5 billion in bailing out General Motors was absolutely the right thing to do, because GM is a good company full of good people making good cars, and (b) that GM’s actions before the bailout, at the time, and afterwards are an abominable outrage, demonstrating that it is a reckless, selfish company full of irresponsible people making cars that kill people if the key chain is too heavy.
The contradiction is too great. So they prefer to avoid looking at the issue too closely.....