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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Good Ideas on Government and the Private Sector from Senator Thune

U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD) issued a press release on June 11 with two excellent ideas regarding government and the private sector.

The first was the introduction of the Government Ownership Exit Plan, which would “require the federal government to end its ownership of private entities acquired under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) by July 1, 2010. The bill also prohibits the future acquisition of new or additional ownership interests in private firms through the use of TARP funds and prevents the federal government from making management decisions in private companies in which it has an ownership interest.” If the Treasury Secretary sees a reasonable chance for future gains in assert values, the divestiture deadline could be extended to, but not beyond, July 1, 2011.

Thune notes that over the past 15 months, the federal government has acquired direct ownership stakes in two car manufacturers, multiple financial institutions, and 532 banks. That’s disturbing.

Thune correctly stated: “Government ownership and control of private business crowds out investment, innovation, job creation, and diminishes the entrepreneurial spirit that made America an economic superpower by instead adding hundreds of billions of dollars to our national debt. Elected officials and government bureaucrats are not qualified to run American businesses.”

Second, the press statement noted: “Senator Thune also recently introduced the Freedom from Government Competition Act (S.1167), a bill that would require federal agencies to rely on private businesses when providing goods and services that are readily available in the private sector. The federal government has identified that roughly 850,000 federal employees perform jobs that can be classified as ‘commercial in nature,’ which means in many instances the federal government is competing directly against main street businesses.”

Get government out of owning and competing with private businesses. Those are sound proposals for the business community, for our economy, and for taxpayers in general.

Raymond J. Keating
Chief Economist
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

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