Auto Industry Bailout

“. . . what we’ve been doing since we replaced horses with cars has about run its course, and that it’s actually a Good Thing that the economy is grinding to a near-halt . . .”

That post by Doc Searls explains the no doubt unpopular opinion that sometimes pain is part of the healing process. I understand that thousands of people have jobs that could be lost, and if managed badly, Detroit and other areas of the country are in for a long period of unnecessary suffering. But really, this bailout just doesn’t make sense.

  • Nobody’s buying because credit is frozen, the industry magnates explain ruefully. Sounds like money’s a bit like blocked chi here. Maybe the best way to get the energy moving – encourage people to buy cars – is to sell cars we can afford to buy without financing.
  • Nobody’s negotiating in good faith for pay cuts, because the unions themselves are more interested in continuing to exist than they are in their members’ needs. The best thing that happened to human rights in this country was collective bargaining; one of the worst was allowing unions to require membership to hold a particular job. Without that, the concept of the full-time union employee would fade away and unions would be forced to really negotiate.
  • Nobody’s greedier than car designers, and we deserve them! They will sell the largest and most inefficient vehicles the market will bear, and have frequently raked in stupendous profits. With gas prices plunging, I don’t expect many more hybrids to reach market because Americans have zero short-term memory. Auto makers take advantage of our collective inattentiveness, but that doesn’t mean we should bail them out just because nobody’s buying what they’re selling.

I don’t support a bailout because it will just be sending good money after bad. However, it’s high time we spend at least that much money figuring out what technologies are necessary to get auto workers employed in a successful industry again if this one fails.


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