You get up with fleas, a sore ass, and…obligations.
Trump’s threat (to cut GM’s subsidies) triggered the usual bout of shock and horror that we have come to love and expect from America’s “virtuous” conservatives—the sort of people who still prudishly read the Economist or think elitist lapdogs like Ben Shapiro are edgy.
This faux outrage is omnipresent: “How dare the President tell a private company how to manage its affairs. GM should be free to replace as many Americans with foreigners as they like!” This is more-or-less the argument made by Veronique de Rugy in her piece for National Review.
Her argument is flawed—and not only because it ignores the existence of moral and fiduciary obligations beyond the scope of mere profit, but because it is grounded in a number of false assumptions.
De Rugy opens her piece with the standard “virtuous” refrain:
[President Trump] seems to believe that because the government bailed out GM…that that company owes the U.S. jobs and factories. It doesn’t.
It does. GM filed for government-assisted Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 1, 2009. American taxpayers subsequently bailed-out GM to the tune of $11.2 billion—and this does not include the plethora of subsidies and kickbacks GM received over the past decade. GM only exists as a going concern because the U.S. government wanted it to exist. This is a cold, hard fact: a fact de Rugy cannot simply ignore because it offends her free-market dogma.
Uncle Sam doesn’t do charity. Uncle Sam is a gangster. If he gives you money you better believe he expects something in return. The moment GM accepted public money is the moment GM ceased to operate as a purely private company. GM owes Uncle Sam. GM owes us. GM cannot accept our money and then close down our factories. The company currently operates five plants in Mexico and four in Canada—those should be first up on the chopping-block. If not, then what do we pay them for?
Let me be clear: I’m not arguing that this is the ideal situation or that the bailout was a good idea. Not by a longshot. I’m merely observing that this is the situation.
In her article, de Rugy claims she opposes cronyism. And of course, Trump is engaging in cronyism by threatening a poor, helpless “private” corporation like GM. Get a grip. Cronyism is giving GM $11.2 billion with no strings attached. By demanding that GM protect American jobs and maintain our industrial base, our president is making sure we didn’t spend that money in vain. He’s making the best of a bad situation. That’s not cronyism, that’s leadership.
All part of the old “free market” wheeze, now being pimped by cucks polishing the NeverTrump knob.