Last night, efforts to pass a bailout for automakers collapsed in the Senate. This morning comes word that the Bush administration is considering giving automakers some of the funding that Congress had authorized in October for a bailout of Wall Street. Is that even legal? Andrew Grossman thinks not, pointing out that, however ill-defined were the limits on the authorities given to the Secretary of the Treasury, the Troubled Assets Relief Program was definitely limited to financial institutions, which the law defines as “any institution, including, but not limited to, any bank, savings association, credit union, security broker or dealer, or insurance company ...”
As Grossman points out, an auto-making company just isn’t like any of those things.