House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have been wasting no time in their campaign to impose even more socialism on the American economy. Having already extended Washington's grasp into financial institutions, they want to move on to the automobile industry.
Pelosi and Reid have been insisting that part of the $700 billion approved for a bailout of financial institutions should go to Ford, General Motors and Chrysler instead. In exchange, Congress would gain more power over the industry.
The $700 billion bailout bill - actually costing much more than that because of "sweeteners" added to it, along with hidden costs - demanded that some financial institutions receiving aid provide ownership stakes to the government. Government ownership of an allegedly private business is blatant socialism.
Apparently Pelosi, Reid and company want a more back-door approach to the auto industry. Strings attached to help for it would be more specific but no less binding than direct government ownership stakes.
Many of the industry's problems were created by Washington. Fuel economy and safety mandates make it more difficult for the companies to make cars American consumers want. Encouragement for many years of unrealistic, expensive union contracts helped to place a big burden on the firms' financial viability.
Of course, the automakers themselves dug much of the deep pit in which they now find themselves.
What is the solution to their dilemma?
We don't know - but we do know that the Pelosi-Reid approach is not constructive. It would merely give the auto makers short-term help in exchange for more government meddling - of the type that helped to create the meltdown.
It's gratifying to see a bailout bill for the auto industry may not come to fruition. Perhaps now the automakers and Congress can look more closely at real, viable solutions, rather than just another rotten deal for American taxpayers.