Gallup and other polling companies, have found out that the public doesn’t want the government, really the taxpayers, to be owners in private business such as General Motors, AIG and Citibank, yet that is exactly what has happened as the government continues to throw money into these companies. Gallup asked the following question: “As you may know, the U.S. Government is investing $50 billion in General Motors and will own 60 percent of that company when General Motors emerges from bankruptcy. All in all, do you approve or disapprove of these government actions?” Over 55 percent of those polled disapproved of the government owning a portion of GM. Through this same poll they also found out that most Americans know and understand exactly what is going on within the automobile industry. These are not ignorant citizens. Fear rises in each one of us as we realize the amount of money that has been given to these companies to help bail them out of bad business decisions, union strongholds and greedy executives’ income levels. None of us knows for sure how many generations it is going to take before this insurmountable debt will ever be paid off. We hear that some companies who have received bailout money have started to pay some of it back. That’s even more confusing. What exactly does that mean? Are they paying back the interest that we are having to pay as taxpayers? Are the loans actually being paid back by the government as the money comes in from these businesses or is it going somewhere else, and if so, where exactly is it going? If the money is actually being applied to loans the government has taken out, will this help decrease the amount of paper money, or bills, being printed and also the chance of huge inflation in the future? While many of us do own shares in companies through stock purchases and 401k plans, those are choices we made and we are able to sell those stocks any time we see fit. These companies need to be told that taxpayers will only put up with this for so long. A time limit needs to be set when the government will no longer be willing to own part of these companies. In other words, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, AIG, GM and Citibank, need to have their debts paid off to the government and a game plan in place to continue without government help. United States Senator John Thune, R-South Dakota, is hoping to do just that. Thune, with support from other legislators, has introduced a bill that would force these companies to pay up and get the government off of their company letterhead, or file for Chapter 11 and reorganize without government help. “We have concluded there is no plan of getting government out of ownership of private business,” Thune said. Thune feels that by July 2010, these companies should have a pretty good idea of whether or not they can continue business without the government. “We think there needs to be an exit strategy,” he said. What it all comes down to is whether these companies can step up and do the job they should have been doing in the first place, which is keeping an eye on the books, not spending more than you have to spend, and cutting your budget when times are tough. If that can’t be done, even after the billions of dollars these companies have been given, then it is time to reorganize and change the way you do business. After all, when we see that a company we have bought stock in isn’t doing so well, don’t we get to decide whether or not we want to continue to hold onto that stock? Taxpayers don’t get that option with their ownership of these companies and we need the government to step in and make the best decision for us. Putting a time limit on government ownership of these companies is a huge step in the right direction.