Toyota vs. The Government
In my discussion with Dave Schuler on the hearings about Toyota safety issues on last night’s episode of OTB Radio, I noted in passing my concern that Congress has a conflict of interest now that the federal government is effectively the owner of General Motors and Chrysler — direct competitors with Toyota.
PJM’s Tom Blumer (via Insty) seems to be taking this to conspiratorial levels, seeing an “orchestrated campaign against Toyota,” an “unsettling series of events,” and expressing “hope that the folks at Toyota fully appreciate the ugliness they’re up against.” It’s not precisely clear, though, what he’s charging.
I don’t think Congress is trying to drive Toyota out of business nor do I get any sense that anything in particular untoward is going on under the circumstances.
I am, nonetheless, uncomfortable with the federal government being in a position of competing with a private firm and also publicly investigating said firm in a way that’s clearly driving down the value of its brand and, ultimately, its market share. That was one of many reasons I opposed the bailout of GM and Chrysler and, in particular, the government taking effective ownership.