What if I told you that right now the federal government is considering making the largest loan guarantee in its history to a private company - a loan that dwarfs the size of the Chrysler bailout in its scope - and yet almost nobody has ever heard a word about this plan?
It sounds incredible, but unfortunately it is true. And in my mind, it is a prime example of what is wrong with the way that Congress spends your money.
Back in 1979, when Congress was considering extending loan guarantees to bail out Chrysler Corporation, there were vigorous debates about the propriety of such a large-scale government intervention into the marketplace. The size of the loan guarantees - $1.5 billion - was unprecedented at the time. It wasn’t until the federal government stepped in to help the airline industry after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 that there was such a large-scale government bailout.
But today, in a world where dead-of-night earmarking can move billions of dollars in Federal spending, a $2.3 billion loan to a struggling railroad can pass Congress without a moment's scrutiny or debate.
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