"Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner asked Congress on Tuesday for broad new powers to regulate nonbank financial companies like troubled insurer American International Group whose collapse could jeopardize the economy."

"'AIG highlights broad failures of our financial system,' Geithner told the House Financial Services Committee. 'We must ensure that our country never faces this situation again.'"

"That includes the power to seize control of institutions, take over their bad loans and other illiquid assets and sell good ones to competitors."

This could be why officials in the Obama Administration did not want Senator Dodd to include a clause in the stimulus packages that prevented bonuses to recipients. The bonuses would cause the American people to become angry, as they did, so now a plan for the government to take over the companies does not seem so bad.

I do not like using terms like "socialism" to describe anything in the United States, I think that word is extreme. This new request for such striking government power calls to mind no other word, and it seems like it can lead us into no other direction.

Should the government be given the power to take over companies? If so, what criteria should be required before it happens?

Geithner seeks new powers over financial companies