Matt thinks it would be wonderful if Jonathan Cohn and Clay Risen were to get their ponies, but nevertheless refuses to replace sound principles of political economy with ponyology:
I hope I’m wrong about this. But I’m pessimistic. The mere fact that it would be desirableto do something to keep everyone who depends on the car industry for a living that simultaneously restores the domestic car firms’ economic viability and serves environmental policy goals doesn’t make it possible. Generally the reason we try not to have the government running businesses is that promoting public goals and maximizing profits require you to do different things. We normally try to advance policy goals by establishing a framework of taxes and regulations so that firms pursuing their interests will be compatible with the public interest. But if GM is going to be a welfare agency, it’s hard to also expect it to be a viable company that will rapidly get off the federal teat.