GM stands for “Government Motors,” the US Government comes out with new guidelines for executive compensation for companies slopping at the public trough, Jon Stewart of the “Daily Show” rails against Uncle Sam buying up failed businesses. The public is finally waking up to the salient fact of the “Financial Meltdown of 2008″ and “The Great Recession of 2009,” the economic upheaval has led to Uncle Sam becoming the largest shareholder in US private business and thereby acquiring even more control over the economy.

But of course readers of my blogs already know about this seminal event since it has been the theme of my series on the “New Economy.” I started by reviewing other definitions of the “New Economy” which included a service dominated economy, a global economy and an information/communication dominated economy. To these definitions I added, the “New Economy” means one in which Uncle Sam, who was already the single largest consumer, owned the central bank, and set the rules, has become the largest owner of the economy.

Let’s review that ownership. Uncle Sam already owned, or held the major share of, the traditional government parts of the economy - the military, cutting edge technology (NASA, NIH, CDC, etc), the road network, national lands, and, with his siblings the state and local governments, education, ports, public safety, and the lion’s share of health care. I realize I may have overlooked other parts, but you get the drift. To these he has now added the largest auto maker, the largest insurance company, parts of the major banks, and the mortgage industry. With President Obama’s health plan he will soon own most of the rest of the health care industry.

Wow! This should make every Libertarian and Republican froth at the mouth. And they do. Wait a minute, is Jon Stewart a Libertarian, or worse, is he a Republican?

While my political leanings are well known, usually compared to Attila the Hun, which is a great injustice, since he was a real socialist, if you doubt me, just check his administration, I am not concerned. In fact I applaud Uncle Sam expanding his investment portfolio. If the sovereign funds of such oil powers as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are buying up the private sector, why not Uncle Sam? And the beauty of this is that, while sovereign funds must pay money for their purchases, Uncle Sam does it by giving a chit.

I was once a stockbroker and thus am very impressed by Uncle Sam’s portfolio - manufacturing industry, transportation, energy, finance, health care, education, security, communications, and, of course, Treasury bills. While others lament the debt he has incurred in acquiring this stake in the economy, I point to the reality that income from these investments could replace taxes to a large extent, and thus lighten, not increase, the burden on my purse.

Like it or not, we are into the “New Economy” in which Uncle Sam will have more control and say about what happens. Doubt me, just look at the new government guidelines for executive pay in such corporations as GM, Citibank, AIG, and more.

Leo Cecchini
June 2009