This debate over whether or not to bail out the auto industry has gotten ridiculous. Congress blithely approved a 700 billion dollar giveaway to Wall Street giants and AIG with virtually no accountability or demands that they modify their business practices, but is making the automotive manufacturers grovel for a measly $25 billion to tide them over until the credit crunch eases up and people start buying cars again. The point here is that if the automakers go under, America will have lost a huge manufacturing base and will be outsourcing the making of cars to other countries (along with all the rest of the stuff we now outsource). It will cost millions of jobs and untold anguish to every person and business that has anything to do with the manufacture of automobiles: autoworkers, suppliers, dealers and who knows how many other businesses and industries that depend on auto manufacturing for a living.
The Detroit CEOs who came to Washington this week are appropriately contrite and willing to deliver corporate survival plans that include a focus on higher efficiency vehicles and management restructuring. The unions are promising to cooperate and make wage concessions to keep the companies afloat.
The latest talk this morning is that the Senate wants to reclaim part of the original 700 billion Wall St. bailout and give part of it to Detroit. The hitch is the current administration won’t agree to that. Surprise, surprise.
I think Jon says it all pretty succinctly: