“We own the auto companies. Why not?”

The fruits of nationalization:

Sen. Tom Harkin said he wants Congress to use a climate bill to force auto companies to make new cars and trucks capable of running on 85 percent ethanol as well as conventional gasoline.

“We own the automobile companies. Why not? I think that will be an easy one,” Harkin said Thursday, referring to the government interests in Chrysler and General Motors.

As government coercion goes, this isn’t necessarily such a bad policy, since by some estimates this would cost only $100 per new car. Nevertheless, he should be prepared to fight for his policy. Using nationalized industries to short-circuit political opposition is wrong, and inimical to democracy.

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