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As far as I know, there are not any companies in the United States that have truly been nationalized. However, there are at least two examples that you might say are nationalized companies.
You could say that Amtrak is a nationalized company. It is a railroad company that is completely owned by the government. However, it is not like the government took over some company and renamed it Amtrak. Instead, the government created the Amtrak company and used it to take over passenger routes that the private railroads wanted to get rid of anyway.
You could also say that the private companies that used to do airport security have been nationalized. After 9/11, the job of providing security was taken over by the Transportation Security Administration. But this is not really an example of nationalization (to me) because the companies were really replaced by government employees. It is not a case where the government took over the companies, kept the workers, and just started to run the business.
Nationalization means the ownership and control of a company government of a country or a state. This practice is not very common in the USA. However there are some cases of nationalization in the USA also. These include:
- Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)
- National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak)
- Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail)
- Resolution Trust Corporation
- Transportation Security Administration
There are few other cases of government partial ownership of companies that is not considered to be nationalization by most of the economists. Citigroup is an example of this kind of this kind of government ownership of companies.
Nationalization refers to the process where the government takes over private businesses, either with an adequate compensation given to the original owners or in many cases even without that. The business is then owned by the government which gets all the profits that are earned by the business. In several nations businesses have been nationalized as the government feels that this would benefit society in general.
Fortunately in the US, private businesses are allowed to exist freely and the government does not try to play a role of being the owner of all of them by removing the original owners by force. Recently though, due to the financial crisis that the economy has been facing, several businesses have been partly taken over by the government which paid for all their liabilities, these include Citibank and General Motors.
It's important not to confuse nationalized companies with socialized ones. Socialized industries like mass transit and the post office were created originally by government spending, and the people employed there work for the government.
Even General Motors isn't nationalized per se, as the government is a stockholder, but the company is still somewhat independent, and the workers there are not government employees. Plus, the US government can't wait to get out of GM and return it to publicly traded status.
After the economic collapse, the goverment did start getting involved. At first it was the bailout of banks that were "too big to fail" without destroying the whole economy. Then, it was the car companies. In both cases, however, the government does not intend to stay in the business but just keep an interest until the company can stay afloat on its own. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government owned and run.
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