December 10, 2008
Will the Auto Bailout be Subject to WTO Discipline?
Posted by David Zaring

Washington is easily distracted, and the Blagojevich Whitewater parallels are nothing if not distracting.  So the auto bailout is moving slowly - though the House just said yes, this thing was supposed to be done on Monday.  Still, there's more legal issues to think about.  It's a big subsidy, and subsidies are subject to WTO discipline - discipline that no one may sue over, given the big subsidies other countries have been giving to their own auto manufacturers.  But the constitutional issues are still there - here's Andrew Grossman with the outlines of how you might get a takings claim out of the plan, and Thom Lambert has a more general anti-industrial policy take.  The takings claim is based on the super senior position the government would take - and if that's a taking for this, it must be for AIG and the bank bailouts.  Heck, one would imagine plenty of contract claims for the private debt offerings made so far, so I wonder if the silence on that front is suggestive.

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