It becomes government control, as Mark Steyn points out over at The Corner:
Incidentally, the government “overhaul” of GM is a useful shorthand for where we’re heading:
You’d be surprised how painlessly and smoothly once-free peoples slip from government “investing” to government control.
The first quid pro quo for the government giving you money (or “investing”, as President Obama and David Brooks say) is that it gets to regulate your behavior. Not just who sits on your board or (see Sarkozy last week) where your factory has to be. When the government “pays” for your health care, it reserves the right to deny (as in parts of Britain) heart disease treatment for smokers or hip replacement for the obese. Why be surprised? When the state’s “paying” for your health, your lifestyle directly impacts its “investment.”
The next stage is that, having gotten you used to having your behavior regulated, the state advances to approving not just what you do but what you’re allowed to read, see, hear, think: See the “Canadian Content” regulations up north, and the enforcers of the “human rights” commissions. Or Britain’s recent criminalization of “homophobic jokes.”
Remember that the government that can give you everything can (and often will) take everything away. That power is a double-edged sword. I think that Obama myrmidons are simply so in love with him that they believe that he would never do anything harmful to them. Don’t forget the quote from Lenin that you cannot make an omelet without breaking a few eggs; that was his justification for the deaths of the Russians who stood in his way.