Government Running Business: Easy to Get In, Harder to Get Out

By May 29, 2009General

Good overview story on page one of today’s Washington Post, “As Overseer And Owner, U.S. Aims For Balance“:

As the government continues to deepen its involvement, officials say they are trying to find the right balance between their conclusion that no one else can fix the companies and their concern that public ownership is inherently corrosive. But even within the administration, there is debate about where to draw that line. And now that the door is open, others are piling through.

An array of advocacy groups, including unions, environmental advocates and shareholder activists, see opportunities to wrest long-sought concessions from businesses that are now beholden to taxpayers. The government has been sucked into political controversies over the size of executive paychecks and bonuses, the employment of foreign workers and the right steps to prevent home foreclosures.

Meanwhile, businesses and industry groups warn that government disrespect for contracts or investors will shake market confidence for years.

Overseer? Why does “oversight” sound like a good thing and “overseer” sound so oppressive?

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