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Automotive Bailout

2008-11-12

Category: politics

The American automotive industry has asked Congress to give over some money to avoid a major collapse. The pundits talk about the economic costs of not saving the Big Three automakers. There are questions about how much will be given, if any, and what good it will do. The question I'm not hearing is, what are they going to do to fix the problems?

When Congress decided to bail out the financial industry, there were at least a few stipulations. There were going to be rule changes to decrease the likelihood of the problem recurring. Much of the trouble could be tied to a specific set of practices that needed to never happen again. They were trying to undo the damage caused by bad mortgages.

The automotive industry has a different set of problems. There isn't some procedural loophole that needs to be plugged; they have built expensive crap for a long time and can't figure out why no one buys it. Some of their unions have bolstered pay far beyond what the work is worth, thereby driving up the cost of their products when compared with foreign made competition.

A financial bail out isn't going to solve any of these problems. A bailout is not going to improve production or the product. Government money going to the industry is not going to retrain their workers to do needed jobs instead of desired jobs. There is nothing saved by the bailout, only dragged out.

With the mortgage crisis caught many off guard. It was a relatively new problem. The automotive problem has been talked about for decades. We knew it was going to happen. Now that the economy grows sour the problem becomes blatant. Our automotive industry is the nine hundred pound man in the corner demanding food and threatening that if he dies we will have to clean up the mess and deal with the stench.

Well, we are in a recession and maybe headed toward a depression. In lean times, fat men get skinny or they die. Neither is very pleasant to be around, but it has to happen. Taxing the starving masses to feed the morbidly obese is not a good idea.

No, I think that if our Congress is going to be so free with our tax dollars, they can spend those dollars retraining the automotive workers to do needed work and give incentives to business that need to be here. The automakers who survive will be leaner, more efficient, and better citizens.


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