Two Republican senators, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Bob Bennett of Utah, released yesterday
a bill titled The Auto Stock for Every Taxpayer Act, which would turn over the government's stake to GM and Chrysler by a distribution of shares to citizens. �The act would
- Prohibit the Treasury from using any more TARP funds to bailout GM or Chrysler.
- So long as the government holds stock in these companies, require that the Secretary of the Treasury and his designee have a fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer to maximize the return on that investment.
- Not later than one year after each company emerges from bankruptcy, require that the Treasury distribute its common stock holdings in that company evenly to every American who paid taxes on April 15.
The restriction is for people who paid taxes, but I think we can do better. Let's distribute shares to EVERY American, even the more than 40% who don't pay income taxes
. But those are exactly the people we need to be interested in their personal finances, to develop good savings behavior, and to feel included in American capitalism (while we still have American capitalism.) There is hardly any better way to have this than to get people to feel the benefits via some kind of privatization plan. �Senators Alexander and Bennett have proposed the first privatization counteraction to Obama economic policy.
Let's have full distribution to all citizens. �Those who want the cash quickly will have the opportunity to sell to those who would want the shares to gain control of GM or Chrysler through tenders. � Those who want to hold onto their property, can. �What you will get, very quickly, is private decisionmaking in the auto industry, which will be the best way to get rationality into those two firms and their best hope of surviving as going concerns.
There's an opportunity here for Obama. �If he's serious about not wanting to control GM, he can ask Congress to pass the Alexander-Bennett bill and counsel Americans about the need to save and the opportunity to start building stable portfolios. �A silk purse out of a sow's car, if you will.