Archive for December 12, 2008

No Bailout For Detroit

December 12, 2008

This Time, Anyway

Defeated in the Senate by a filibuster threat, the compromise bill to bail out the automakers to the tune of $14 billion failed to pass with the necessary votes to achieve cloture.  A good thing, or a bad thing?

Weeeelllllll…. We live in a “Capitalist” society.  Actually, strike that – it’s a Marxist term.  In this country we have a free-market economy.  Ed Morrissey gets it right when he says:

[C]ongratulations to Senate Republicans. Most of them, and a few Democrats like Baucus and Tester and Blanche Lincoln, must have read their Robert Byrd Pocket Constitutions and realized that the federal government has no role in bailing out out private enterprise with taxpayer money.

There probably (definitely) are better places to put taxpayer monies right now than in the auto-industry, yes?  So unlike the Chrysler bailout of the ’70s, the Senate (if not Nancy Pelosi’s House) is making a better bet and being true to American principles by not agreeing to hand over $14 billion like that this time.  But make no mistake – this is gonna hurt.  The only question, then, is will it hurt less than the alternatives?  Wouldn’t more people ultimately lose their jobs if the money is lent and GM goes bankrupt anyway?  Possibly.

And there’s a second consideration.  The candle making industry collapsed after Edison came along.  If letting the (not so) big three automakers go the way of the do-do paves the way for the makers of the Jetson’s flying car, then bring it on, I say.  If the bankruptcy of GM allows Ford, their suppliers and some other, smaller US auto manufacturer to exist until the next Edison builds that flying car, then that’s a good thing.  Or at least, a not-so-bad thing.  Right now the US economy is saddled with a 100 year old industry that is itself saddled with work-rules that keep it unproductive, not to mention crushing pension obligations (call them chickens that have come home to roost).  All that’s not going away until the industry does.

Trouble is, I don’t exactly see anybody making flying cars, yet.  Maybe that’s okay – I didn’t know about Bill Gates and his little start-up company in 1979 either.