Opinion: In today’s pages: GM, forests and the dissing of a statue
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|Thomas Starr King, looking for bus fare (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)|
Federal support was vital to keep General Motors running, the Times editorial board notes today, but the government and its taxpayers should not become the long-term owners of the automaker:
[J]ust as taxpayers are reluctant investors, GM would be far better off with no government ownership. There are just too many conflicts between what the country’s political leaders want to accomplish and GM’s need to make a profit. The feds’ support has been crucial to keeping GM running while it struggles to reorganize along the lines demanded by the Obama administration. But once it gets through this process, the best thing the administration can do for the company is to sell it to someone else.
The board applauds President Obama’s time-out on road-building in national forests and calls for more steps to preserve and maintain the forests, including chipping away at a backlog of deferred maintenance. And as the terrorist group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia turns 45, the board observes that U.S. efforts have made a difference in Colombia, though the South American nation is still short of a clear turning point.
On the other side of the fold, Jack Cheevers bemoans the imminent ousting of a statue of Thomas Starr King from the U.S. Capitol, to be replaced by a sculpture of Ronald Reagan. King was a charismatic San Francisco minister who helped keep California in the Union in the days before the Civil War, and his contributions deserve to be remembered, Cheevers writes. And Donald Kirk, author of two books on Korean issues, warns that the Proliferation Security Initiative, intended to monitor and possibly blockade shipments of war-related materiel to and from rogue nations, would not be enough to curb the actions of North Korea.