You can see this at work in the decision sneaked out by the US Federal Reserve on Christmas Eve to recognise GM’s financing arm, GMAC, as a “bank”, thus making it eligible to receive the subventions hitherto given to, well, banks. GMAC’s chairman, one J Ezra Merkin, also happens to be head of a hedge fund which put all – repeat, all – of its investors’ cash into Bernard Madoff’s gargantuan Ponzi scheme. Of course Merkin was merely a dupe of his old friend Mr Madoff; but it is remarkable that the US authorities are so desperate to do GM’s bidding that they would enable the taxpayers’ billions to be handed over to J Ezra Merkin’s brand new “bank”.

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