According to their own interpretation of events, the Bush and Obama administrations rescued the entire U.S. auto industry from imminent disaster and total failure. But in fact, a potential collapse only threatened General Motors and Chrysler, whose years of bad decision-making had finally caught up with them.
Pouring cash into these two corporate clunkers may have "saved" them for now, but in the process other companies were penalized, laws were circumvented, property rights were trampled, and America's tradition of free enterprise was badly damaged.
This forum's panelists, who have been vigilant in their warnings about the dangers of such interventions, discuss the ramifications of diverting TARP funds for unauthorized purposes, circumventing long-established bankruptcy procedures, violating secured creditors' rights, and failing to maintain a proper separation between economy and state.
Featuring Richard Mourdock, Treasurer, State of Indiana and Representative of the Indiana State Pension Funds Objecting to the Chrysler Bankruptcy Plan; and David A. Skeel, Professor of Corporate Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School. Moderated by Daniel J. Ikenson, Associate Director, Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute.
Daniel J. Ikenson
Dan Ikenson is associate director of Cato's Center for Trade Policy Studies, focusing on WTO disputes, regional trade agreements, U.S.-China trade issues, steel and textile trade policies, and antidumping reform. Ikenson has been involved in international trade since 1990.
Before joining Cato in 2000, Ikenson was director of international trade planning for an international accounting and business advisory firm. Before that, he co-founded the Library of International Trade Resources (LITR), a consulting firm providing interactive information access and international trade consulting. And before that, he was a trade policy and antidumping analyst at a few different international trade law practices in Washington, DC.
Ikenson is the author of many studies and articles on trade policy and is the coauthor of Antidumping Exposed: The Devilish Details of Unfair Trade Law. He has appeared on The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg TV, MSNBC, ABC News, and NPR. His articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, the Detroit News, National Review Online, and elsewhere.
Ikenson holds a M.A. in economics from George Washington University.
Richard Mourdock was elected as the 53rd State Treasurer in November 2006. He brought to the office a 30 year record as a business executive in the Hoosier energy, construction, and environmental industries.
Mourdock served two terms as a County Commissioner in Vanderburgh County, where he gained a reputation as a results-oriented leader by setting goals and measuring progress.
Mourdock serves as Indiana's Chief Investment Officer, where he seeks to maximize the return on the state's investment portfolio, and serves on at total of 13 boards and commissions in his official position.
Recently, Mourdock was at the center of the national debate on the automobile industry bailout as he pursued a case on behalf of Indiana pensioners all the way to the US Supreme Court. Currently, the case is "on appeal" and the court will likely decide in early 2010 whether or not to take the case. As a result of the Chrysler case, Mourdock has frequently been cited for his willingness to stand up for the rule of law, the US Constitution, and individual property rights.
Richard holds a Master's Degree in Geology from Ball State University and a Bachelor's Degree from Defiance College in Ohio.
David Arthur Skeel
David Skeel is the author of Icarus in the Boardroom (Oxford, 2005) and Debt's Dominion: A History of Bankruptcy Law in America (Princeton, 2001), as well as numerous articles and other publications. He has been interviewed on Nightline, Chris Matthews' Hardball (MSNBC), National Public Radio, and Marketplace, among others, and has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and other newspapers and magazines.
Skeel has twice received the Harvey Levin award for outstanding teaching, as selected by a vote of the graduating class, and has also received the University's Lindback Award for distinguished teaching. In addition to corporate law and bankruptcy, Skeel also writes on sovereign debt, law and religion, and poetry and the law, and is an elder at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.