Friday, November 14, 2008

Just say no to GM, Ford and Chrysler!

Mark Morford, one of the San Francisco Chronicle's columnists is always interesting. I especially like the transportation ideas he discusses from time to time. Today's column asks the question I have been wondering for some time, why not let the big US automakers die? That would give us the opportunity to rebuild the transportation and auto industry into something more fitting for today's world. As always Morford puts it more colorfully:
We have a chance to let this fat, lazy, top-heavy, SUV-glutted industry implode like it so very much deserves, and we might not take it? I think: What an opportunity. We could begin to reinvent the American automobile starting next week, and we might instead keep the old ways alive simply because the Big Three were too stupid and greedy to see past their gross SUV sales figures for the past 25 years? Come on.

He also suggests that rather than shoveling money into companies making products no one wants, just because the workers would suffer, we should be spending the money helping train workers for the future and on reducing the social impacts of letting these dinosaur automakers die. It's an interesting idea, quite Republican in many ways (aside from the retraining and addressing social impacts part of course).

The other side of the question, somewhat lukewarmly argued I felt, is by Daniel Gross from Slate. He believes the bankruptcy process would not be an efficient way to reorganize the auto companies and fears for the economic consequences on workers and the rest of economy. But then again, as he says:
The failure of the American automotive industry—and let's be honest, it has basically failed—is a matter of public policy. If the Big Three can be saved, they can be saved only by government.

What a mess. It's clear that a little bit of regulation twenty years ago would have really helped the auto industry. I can't blame them for fighting it, but I can blame the Republican party.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't know that it all falls on the Republicans.

The labor unions that demanded way too much from these auto companies are a major influence in the Democratic Party.

I think the "let them fail" sentiment is a lot more common among Republican leaders than Democrats.