Some are grumbling about Deese’s lack of relevant experience. (He has driven a car and once slept in the parking lot of a GM plant!) But the real issue isn’t Deese’s resume. The real issue is why anyone should have the power to “rewrite the rules of American capitalism.” Unlike Deese, Treasury Secretaries Paulson and Geithner are men of experience. But what kind of experience could justify the immense, arbitrary power they’ve exercised in the wake of the financial meltdown? Experience centrally planning the global economy?
Deese’s embarrassing rawness is actually welcome, for it draws our attention to the invidious inequalities inherent in a government with unconstrained discretion. Deese isn’t going to pick the colors for the Chevy Malibu. But he could. And Obama can tell us that Congress won’t dictate which factories GM should close. But it will.
Liberals used to care about inequalities in power—and they were right to. Because equality of power ensures freedom. Being equal in our basic rights, no one has a natural right to rule over another. This kind of liberal egalitarianism is the root of the prohibition on titles of nobility found in the American Articles of Confederation. It is also the root of the very idea of limited government—the idea that a government’s power is legitimate only if it is carefully parceled out, well-checked, and limited in scope to tasks only a government can perform.
The answer is simple: they’re not liberals and haven’t been in a long time, if they ever were.
[Update a couple minutes later]
The prescience of Robert Heinlein — he saw the future of the US auto industry.