American Grille Controversy On Route 1776

"Of all the various forms of corporate subsidy that the American taxpayer is now being asked to shoulder (bailouts for swaggering investment bankers and in­surers, lifelines for overextended homeowners and the mortgage lenders who took advantage of them), perhaps none evoke such complicated emotions in Washington as the comparatively modest plea of General Motors. This is not simply because of its size, but also because G.M. is bound up with our collective identity, both national and personal. No congressman looks back wistfully at the first batch of securitized mortgages he bought with his hard-earned savings during his teenage years or to losing his virginity in the back of his father’s trading floor. Probably no senator thinks back nostalgically to the beloved uncle who proudly broke his back every day for 40 years working in the reinsurance business. To a lot of politicians and White House aides, G.M. isn’t simply another failing company looking for a handout; it’s as much a symbol of middle-class aspiration as the tract house and the Disneyland vacation..."

Matt Bai
New York Times Magazine
March 25, 2009

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