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The Government as Shareholder

The president says he has "no interest" in "running GM," now that it's owned by the government. But, as the New York Times reports, the pressure (or temptation) to meddle is already strong:

Members of Congress have called the leaders of his auto task force to complain about the closing of a single Chrysler dealer — one with powerful political friends. On Sunday, as Mr. Obama briefed Congressional leaders on the impending G.M. bankruptcy, one pressed him for a commitment that the “new G.M.” will not move its headquarters out of Detroit.

“He said that was a commercial decision, that he wouldn’t get involved,” said one senior administration official who had seen a summary of the call. “But that’s not the last request like this we are going to get.”

One member of the White House's National Economic Council drew up a set of principles called “The Government as Shareholder," which is said to define what's hands-off and what's not. As Steven Rattner, the head of the auto task force, puts it, the principles boil down to “no plant decisions, no dealer decisions, no color-of-the-car decisions.”

Other links this morning:
GM's Downfall: A Saga of Decline and Denial (WSJ)
Administration Is Near Finance Overhaul Plan (NYT)
Citigroup Is Halting Some Payouts (WSJ)
Banks May Soon Get Approval to Leave the Bailout Program (NYT)

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