Auto Maker Bailout

Here they come with outstretched hands once again. The big three American automakers, General Motors, Ford Motors and Chrysler have no shame. They got a a ton of money a few weeks ago in a government sponsored bailout and now they want more. There’s no disputing that these companies employ a few million workers and that they would be the ones who suffer from the companies’ decline, but here’s the problem with the bailout.

Let’s go way back, for a moment, to the 1970s when America experienced the horror of the Middle East oil embargo. The ones who fared the best back then were owners of small cars. Neither the oil companies nor the automakers responded in any relevant way, not even when people traded in their gas guzzlers for the much smaller and fuel efficient cars manufactured by foreign companies. American automakers stood firm in their stupid decision to make big, big crappy cars and gas guzzling trucks. Then they complained that their sales were down.

We saw Toyota, a Japanese company, become the biggest seller in the United States. Shame on American car makers, shame. They started the industry and then they ran it right into the ground. They are incompetent.

It doesn’t matter how much money is given to them by the government, they’ll waste it through bad decision making. Starting in the 1970s is when these companies should have retooled their plants to create cars that were highly efficient and offered exceptional safety. Ford Motors is the company that manufacturers perhaps the world’s most unsafe car. Give them more money, why?

The other problem with a government bailout is that our government itself is incompetent. Even the first money they gave them did not have any strings attached. There is no accountability. Just like the giant insurance company AIG which got a government bailout and then obscenely spent the money on entertainment for its officers and exorbitant corporate pay, what’s to prevent the automakers from abusing the money the same way? And if the people in charge have screwed up so royally before, why would the government think that they will now make good decisions and be able to implement them.

I have no confidence in these companies’ abilities to do anything right. The sad thing is, as always, it’s the average citizen who will pay for corporate and government mistakes. — filed 11/13/08

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