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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 5/3/09

Dilettantes at the Chrysler Gate

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Message James Raider
As Obama forces his personal views on the automotive landscape, his injection into the Chrysler debacle is evidence of the lengths he appears prepared to reach for morphing the Presidency into a willful bully-pulpit. Even the media is using words like "rogue group," to describe the Chrysler creditors holding out for better treatment from the government.

Obama complained that the small "group of speculators," rejected the government's 33 cents on the dollar offer. Speculators? What a peculiar denigration of bankers who didn't feed at the government bailout trough. This is a very serious misrepresentation of the reality surrounding the mess that has swirled around the government intervention into corporate America.

The "holdout group," which included approximately 20 debt holders, claim they are being treated unfairly. No kidding. They have no seat at the negotiating table, and are required to be represented by recipients of taxpayer TARP money. Where is the common sense here? Why would the UAW and TARP fund receivers be more capable of representing the interests of the debt holders than they are themselves? These rogue investors, representing pension and retirement plans and school endowments, as well as teachers union, placed senior secured loans into the Chrysler coffers. Now Obama calls them "speculators," as if the term is a dirty word that middle America and taxpayers should accept as such. Speculators are exactly what America's business engines urgently need right now. Why disparage them?

This is simply misrepresentation and obfuscation floating from a White House seemingly unafraid of twisting perception of reality into support for a profoundly ideological agenda. The serious concern rests in the possibility that the government will corrupt the longstanding bankruptcy code that has stood the smooth functioning of the capitalist system very well. The bully pulpit in the hands of an effective salesman might well inflict permanent damage on the open and free corporate landscape which has fuelled America's growth for over a century.

Those financial institutions who profited handsomely from taxpayer philanthropy which financed their bailout cash, distributed by the current and previous administrations, are understandably very solicitous of Obama's demands. The White House accusing the holdouts of acting against the national interest, is injecting the government directly into the management and decision making process governing the funds. This is a pretense that the activity of bankruptcy is somehow unnatural and un-American.

Leaders of the rogue funds should continue to act and conduct themselves in line with what they believe are their fiduciary responsibilities on behalf of their investors, regardless what others in fear of the bully-pulpit might do to pacify the domineering harassment from the White House. The bankruptcy proceedings should be allowed to play themselves out legitimately under the rules and laws that have long proven effective and cleansing in corporate America, and the Administration novices should refrain from interference with management of corporate America and speculator fund management. America is a country of laws. Government should abide by them.

James Raider writes  The Pacific Gate Post
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Meanderings through senior executive offices in the corporate worlds of high tech and venture capital, have provided fodder for an inquisitive pen and foraging mind. James Raider writes:
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