...to do many of the things he's been doing apparently.
The One got on TV the other day, and went on a bit about how he doesn't want to run the auto companies.
"Let me be clear. The United States government has no interest in running GM. We have no intention of running GM," Obama said.
But, while he wants to 'make one thing perfectly clear' - some people may have been having a little trouble getting his words to line up with his actions.
After the bailout monies got passed around Obama started doing things that (certainly to the untrained eye) made it look like "running the auto companies" was exactly what he was doing:
- He 'fired' the General Motors CEO, Rick Wagoner - as well as most of the board
(yes, yes, "suggested their resignations" - whatever, Obama pulled the trigger)
- He has PUSHED Chrysler (a PRIVATELY-HELD company, btw) into merging with Italian car company, Fiat - making it clear to Chrysler that their continued existence depends on the success of said merger.
- He is currently DEMANDING that they start making the "more fuel efficient cars" that HE wants them to build.
Now, I've been looking at all of this as simply incredible - that the President of the United States somehow has the authority to order US Companies to build what he wants, employ who he wants - and merge with foreign companies, all on his say-so?
The President of the United States has that kind of authority?
Congress has Voted and GIVEN HIM this extra-constitutional power?
...as it turns out... No. He Doesn't - And They Haven't.
Barack Obama has No Legal Authority to Direct the Restructuring of GM or Chrysler.
"House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told CNSNews.com on Tuesday that he does not know where President Barack Obama gained legal authority to oversee a restructuring of General Motors and Chrysler."
"House Majority Leader(D)"?
And guess who else can't figure where Obama's authority is coming from?
How about fellow Class-Warrior Chris Dodd?
"Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd (D.-Conn.), meanwhile, toldCNSNews.com he was somewhat surprised that the administration did not consult with him at all about its auto industry plan despite his key committee chairmanship and that he had “been reading about it in the papers basically."
Dodd also said he had questions about the president’s proposal regarding Chrysler.
“One piece that has me somewhat perplexed is whether or not we are providing funds to Chrysler in order to make their position attractive to Fiat,” Dodd said. “That’s going to raise questions in people’s minds.”
Okay, but wait - that's TARP money!
If anything has been well-established thus far, it's that the law (however unconstitutional it may be) clearly states that if you take TARP money then the government owns you!
Chris Dodd finds that part to be something of a head-scratcher too...
Dodd, like Hoyer, expressed uncertainty when asked where the president got the authority to further fund the auto industry and oversee its restructuring given that TARP only authoriz[es] federal aid to financial institutions
Oh, wait.... these are Car Companies, aren't they?
The TARP law specifically says, “The Secretary is authorized to establish the Troubled Asset Relief Program (or ‘TARP’) to purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, troubled assets from any financial institution, on such terms and conditions as are determined by the Secretary, and in accordance with this Act and the policies and procedures developed and published by the Secretary.”
“The term ‘financial institution’ means any institution, including, but not limited to, any bank, savings association, credit union, security broker or dealer, or insurance company, established and regulated under the laws of the United States or any State, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, or the United States Virgin Islands, and having significant operations in the United States, but excluding any central bank of, or institution owned by, a foreign government.”
But... that would mean that Obama couldn't use those "the-world-is-going-end-right-now-if-you-don't-give-us-this-money-without-strings-or-oversight" TARP funds to bailout, restructure or otherwise threaten automakers with in the first place!
Apparently, I'm not the only one who sees that:
Using TARP money to finance a government-driven restructuring of GM and Chrysler as announced by Obama would not be legal without a congressional authorization, said Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.).
“No, it’s not legal without congressional approval,” Franks told CNSNews.com. “The language is clear. The money is directed toward financial institutions. But that may be the least of our challenge.
"The notion that government could specify what vehicles to make is ridiculous.”
So does that make the whole to-do into "Obama's Illegal War on American Corporations"
... it certainly has a certain ring to it, and Orin Hatch seems to agree too:
Hatch told CNSNews.com. “But I do not want the federal government dictating who runs corporations in this country. Now there is no question there is a lot of leverage with the federal funds. But it’s a very troubling thing that people think politicians can fire a leader of a company.”
Indeed - some people might even consider such a thing... "Unconstitutional".
"We The People" need to do something about this, before I end up using that word so many times in this "First 100 Days" that it loses its meaning.