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Times Watch: GM Edition

All the crony capitalism that's fit to print.

4:40 PM, Jul 19, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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Before he started the late New York Sun, Ira Stoll had a great blog called Smartertimes.com, in which he pointed out the Gray Lady's errors, inconsistencies, and absurdities on a regular basis. Now Stoll runs a blog called FutureofCapitalism.com. Today's  great catch: The Times op-ed page printed a piece by investment banker and former Clinton administration deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman which argues, among other things, that Obama should repair his relationship with business by hiring ... Roger Altman:

What adjustments should President Obama make to repair ties with business? For starters, no important member of his administration has ever met a major payroll. Such an absence of business experience in a presidential administration is unique in recent decades and carries negative connotations; certainly, no other comparable interest group is so unrepresented. This could be remedied by recruiting a senior industry figure for one of the four or five key economic policy positions.

I wonder who he has in mind!

As Stoll points out, however, nowhere does the Times mention that this Obama-friendly op-ed was written by a man whose company, Evercore Partners, benefited from the GM bankruptcy -- the terms of which bankruptcy were of course dictated by the Obama administration.

Sometimes it seems as if there are so many calamities going on in the world, no one can keep up. Take GM and Chrysler, for example. How are those shady bailouts supported by taxpayer dollars going? Just today, the TARP watchdog said the administration acted heedlessly, and perhaps unnecessarily, when it shut down thousands of auto dealers as part of the bankruptcy settlement. John Q. Public has poured billions of dollars into these private enterprises, and some of that money ends up in Roger Altman's hands. Then again, when you are facing macroeconomic crises enumerated in trillions, tens of billions of dollars to GM doesn't seem like that big a deal.

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