Republican Congressman Mike Turner is gathering support for his proposed Constitutional amendment that would make it unconstitutional for the government to own private business in whole or in part following intervention from the Treasury Department during a financial crisis. This is largely a reaction to the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) bailouts that businesses received. Taxpayers issued “loans” to companies that were mismanaged and deemed too big to fail. Some of the money has been paid back but much of it has not. Some companies who received the taxpayer funded bailout are even requesting to have their debts cancelled, burdening the taxpayers even more.
Furthermore, as a result of the TARP bailouts, the government now owns about one quarter of General Motors (who “repaid” TARP funds with other taxpayer money). These taxpayer funded ventures are essentially a fiscal money pit for Americans and undermine the free enterprise system of the United States. The bailouts and government takeovers also symbolize a mentality that taxpayers will pay the price for the risky practices of big business.
In addition to the rip off taxpayers generally receive when the government takes over a business, there are many problems that can also arise with the takeover. Conflicts of interest are rampant, any transparency in government spending is virtually non-existent, and private decisions of a company are heavily influenced by public pressure. Overall, government has no place running businesses and everyone involved ends up at a loss. Although there is a long process for this proposed amendment to go through, this amendment is a critical step in preserving the free enterprise system and a cause that will ultimately benefit the American taxpayer.