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Nevertheless, the government’s large stake in some of the most troubled companies in the U.S. economy is unprecedented, including 80 percent of the global insurance giant AIG and home mortgage goliaths Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and 35 percent of GMAC, and critics fear they will be complicated by political considerations.

“I am quite concerned about the large government stakes in U.S. firms. Unwinding these stakes and avoiding temptation toward political interference will be difficult. In the case of the auto industry, more troubling is the bullying treatment of creditors,” said R. Glenn Hubbard, former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers and now dean of Columbia Business School.