Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Rule of Law is an Absolute Priority

**Be sure to read the follow up post, "Good Bye GM, Hello People's Car!"**

I thought all was well with the world when the senior creditors told President Teleprompter to see them in court. What I should have remembered was that Chicago bare-knuckle politics now rules the day.

In my two posts, "Killing Chrysler" and "He Who Has the Gold Makes the Rules, Or So He Thinks," I wrote how bankruptcy law would win the day. Boy, was I wrong.

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It appears that President Teleprompter's goons strong-armed the TARP-compromised creditors, then demonized the hedge funds and others. When that didn't work, the threats started rolling in about audits, etc. I fear we are becoming a banana republic, and not the store with expensive khakis. Cheap? No. 100% Free. Trade stocks for free on The Free Trading Community.

In the Wall Street Journal, Todd Zywicki writes an editorial about this mess and how the Contracts Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the principle of Absolute Priority should have prevailed. Instead, the senior creditors were muscled into taking $0.30 on the dollar, while the junior creditor, the UAW (surprise surprise), ended up getting $0.50 on the dollar, which is 55% of the company.

Constitutionally, what President Teleprompter did was violate the contracts between the senior creditors and Chrysler as well as casting bankruptcy law into confusion (from Professor Zywicki's article),

The Contracts Clause of Article V of the Constitution, which prohibited states from interfering with the obligation to pay debts. Hence also the Bankruptcy Clause of Article I, Section 8, which delegated to the federal government the sole authority to enact "uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies."

Regarding Absolute Priority,

The absolute priority rule is a linchpin of bankruptcy law. By preserving the substantive property and contract rights of creditors, it ensures that bankruptcy is used primarily as a procedural mechanism for the efficient resolution of financial distress... Violating absolute priority undermines this commitment by introducing questions of redistribution into the process. It enables the rights of senior creditors to be plundered in order to benefit the rights of junior creditors.

In other words, the "orderly bankruptcy plan" was really just a ploy to take from the senior creditors and give to the politically-connected UAW. This risk of government interference and confiscation is going to have a negative effect on ALL business in need of credit, especially those who have politically-favored unions. If you are a senior creditor of GM, you should be afraid, very afraid. Guard against ID Theft with 15 Points of Protection from TrustedID, including our $1,000,000 Warranty. Click Here!

America, consider very carefully if this type of government interference and control is the hope and change you voted for. Consider if you want drastic government control over business. Consider if you want to see the world's largest economy collapse under the weight of uncertainty. If you don't, call your representatives and demand the U.S. Constitution be upheld, and the rule of law maintained. If not, expect the worst!

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