When government runs businesses, consumers lose

Under Barack Obama, the government is running more and more of our economy, undermining existing consumer protections.

One of the revelations about government ownership happened in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. As workers walked down tens of flights of stairs, they were shocked to find that there were in total darkness, with no battery pack stairwell floodlights as one finds in the most ordinary of buildings in New York. The reason for this scandal was that the World Trade Center was built by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a regional government entity which feared no tickets from the fire department, another government agency. Until the first World Trade Center bombing turned this lack of lighting into a scandal, this problem remained unsolved. This was a government controlled real estate venture policing itself.
 
A more recent example of what happens when the government owns an industry and its effect on consumer safety and rights was the
loss of Lemon Law protection for Chrysler owners, agreed to by the bankruptcy court. 
 
This week's news brings a further example of the parents of two paralyzed children being
intimidated by General Motors attorneys. Why should General Motors, no longer a private firm fearing government action, but now essentially a quasi-part of the government, be worried about legal problems? When the government took control of them because they were "too big to fail," they essentially were able to take this argument -- and punishment protection -- for granted as the new national policy. The Federal government, in essence, can't criticize General Motors the way it previously could because the bailout has changed the reality: the Federal government now IS General Motors. And it is tough to get the Justice Dept. to sue the Commerce or Treasury Dept.

It remains to be seen how the tort attorneys will react. Will GM and Chrysler actually be off limits? That could cost the tort bar dearly. Quite possibly taxpayers will pay for any damages they win in court against GM or Chrysler over vehicles they allege to be unsafe.

 
Under Barack Obama, the government is running more and more of our economy, undermining existing consumer protections.

One of the revelations about government ownership happened in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. As workers walked down tens of flights of stairs, they were shocked to find that there were in total darkness, with no battery pack stairwell floodlights as one finds in the most ordinary of buildings in New York. The reason for this scandal was that the World Trade Center was built by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a regional government entity which feared no tickets from the fire department, another government agency. Until the first World Trade Center bombing turned this lack of lighting into a scandal, this problem remained unsolved. This was a government controlled real estate venture policing itself.
 
A more recent example of what happens when the government owns an industry and its effect on consumer safety and rights was the
loss of Lemon Law protection for Chrysler owners, agreed to by the bankruptcy court. 
 
This week's news brings a further example of the parents of two paralyzed children being
intimidated by General Motors attorneys. Why should General Motors, no longer a private firm fearing government action, but now essentially a quasi-part of the government, be worried about legal problems? When the government took control of them because they were "too big to fail," they essentially were able to take this argument -- and punishment protection -- for granted as the new national policy. The Federal government, in essence, can't criticize General Motors the way it previously could because the bailout has changed the reality: the Federal government now IS General Motors. And it is tough to get the Justice Dept. to sue the Commerce or Treasury Dept.

It remains to be seen how the tort attorneys will react. Will GM and Chrysler actually be off limits? That could cost the tort bar dearly. Quite possibly taxpayers will pay for any damages they win in court against GM or Chrysler over vehicles they allege to be unsafe.