On a blogger conference call this morning, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) discussed a bill he introduced last week that would distribute the Federal government’s recently acquired GM and Chrysler stock to taxpaying Americans.
“Instead of the Treasury owning 60 percent of shares in the new GM and 8 percent of Chrysler, you would own them, if you were one of about 120 million individuals who paid taxes on April 15,” Alexander explained. “This is the fastest way to get the stock out of the hands of Washington and back into the hands of the American people in the marketplace where it belongs. The stock certificates would be in your name, not that of your government.”
The Senator said that giving taxpayers stock will benefit both the companies and shareholders.
“It would be helpful to GM and Chrysler if they had 120 million Americans interested in their success.”
Questions remain on whether the auto shares should be distributed based on how much one pays in taxes; more taxes paid, more shares received.
Alexander thinks it’s a “simpler, cleaner proposal” if the shares are evenly spread amongst all taxpayers.
To publicize what Alexander calls the “incestuous relationship” of the government owning car companies, the Senator is handing out weekly “Car Czar” awards to legislators “who distinguish themselves by making it harder for the auto companies your government owns to compete in the world market place.”
The inaugural award went to Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, who called GM’s CEO to complain about a GM warehouse closing in his home state that employed 90 people.
Mr. Frank’s spokesman, Harry Gural, says the Congressman discussed, among other things, “the facility’s value to GM.” We’d have thought that would be something that GM might have considered when it decided to close the Norton center, but then a call from one of the most powerful Members of Congress can certainly cause a ward of the state to reconsider what qualifies as “value.”
“The best thing that would help the company’s success would be to get the stock out of the hands of Washington, and into the taxpayers’ hands.”
Sen. Alexander anticipates more inevitable situations like the one Rep. Frank found himself in, and of course, a “Car Czar” award to go along with it.
“I expect that while today the administration and others may be reluctant to support our legislation, a few months from now they’ll be grateful to get it out of here.”