There are still more autoworkers than hedge-fund and mutual-fund managers in this country. So it's not surprising the Democratic administration seems to be working harder to protect jobs - and pension and healthcare benefits - than it's working to make whole the investors who had pumped billions into failing Detroit automakers, or even the government-funded banks who lent them money.
As President Obama put it last week, "A group of investment firms and hedge funds decided to hold out for the prospect of an unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout. They were hoping that everybody else would make sacrifices, and they would have to make none. Some demanded twice the return that other lenders were getting. I don't stand with them. I stand with Chrysler's employees and their families and communities. I stand with Chrysler's management, its dealers, and its suppliers. I stand with the millions of Americans who own and want to buy Chrysler cars." Obama's statement here.
But who's the victim here, really? Of course the investors were holding out for more money. That's their job: "OppenheimerFunds represented the interests of the thousands of small investors and their retirement plans that make up the majority of our mutual funds shareholders," responded one of the firms that's losing more than two-thirds of its investment in Chrysler. Oppenheimer statement here.
All of which is really a prologue for the bigger struggle over General Motors, whose private investors are getting really nervous, reports Bloomberg here.