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Obama goes way too farPosted Monday, March 30, 2009, at 9:42 AM
There's a limit to which government should interfere in the operations of private business.
The American auto industry needs massive changes. That's overwhelmingly obvious.
But President Obama's order that General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner step down is going entirely too far.
Being sort of a "gearhead" and the purchaser of too many new cars for my own good over the years, I've kept an eye on automakers, foreign and domestic.
Wagoner's done a much better than some of his predecessors. GM actually makes some pretty good cars, especially when compared to the 1980s or 1990s. As far as the business side, he's faced tremendous challenges involving union and retirement costs.
My major concern, though, is the prospect of Obama considering himself a business czar and demanding massive, possibly questionable, changes in other types of corporations and businesses.
Will Obama turn out to take the same "I'm the king, don't question me" approach toward business that George W. Bush took toward military and national security issues?
Let's hope not.
Decisive, quick action is needed to get the economy on track. But demanding the right to make personnel changes in an industry, even if that industry is asking for government subsidies, opens the door for something we don't need.
For that matter, so does Obama's previous proposal for a 90 percent tax on executive bonsuses. I totally agree that many of those executives have the wrong attitude, but taxing individuals as punishment, more or less, sets a dangerous precedent.
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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