Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What to do about Detroit

As is so often the tragic truth, the debate over saving the Big Three seems to have come down to a choice between "Do it" and "Do nothing". There is a third way, which would have the effect of letting these companies die their richly deserved death, while saving most of the jobs. We should save the money that would go into bailing them out (they are doomed anyway), and instead divide that money into two pools: One pool would go to providing unemployment benefits to the affected workers; the second pool would go into tax incentives and other benefits to attract the Toyotas and Nissans of the world to rebuild the industry here in the U.S., with requirements that they hire and retrain most of the displaced workers. No one from the Big Three who held a title of Vice President or above would be eligible. They have proven they are ineducable.

This plan is about as close to win-win as is possible in this situation. Make no mistake about it: the culture of the Big Three is such that if we simply throw them a life line, we will be facing this question again, and again, and again, after each bail-out. They are beyond hope and should be put to sleep.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zapats ... there is another way.
1. Let the Big 3 go their natural way
2. Offer up an amount, say $25B total split for each of the 3 as they qualify ... required that they each make a car of X spec and quality with that money (retool, etc.) by Y date for Market, say at 70 mph (MIT and Cal students do it to >100mpg, NASA does it, so why not Detroit.)
Limit this car to Std and Deluxe, 3 colors like the 60s bug.
3. Tell the US this is our car, and to buy it. Give it social status like the Prius. Tell Americans its about community and love, not who has a hotter car.

Result - Detroit has a moonshot chance at changing their culture, and Americans get to help on the $700B that goes to Oil.

I would proudly drive a Detroit car of same color and make that you have, if the quality is built-in like lots of American products. We as a country get 6 choices (Std, Deluxe from 3 makers) in 18 colors. Surely in the world of financial crisis, Peak Oil, etc. that this American love with Oil and Supercars can be moved to values and more ...

Anyway, I'm a dreamer. I gave up my Porsche dreams a long time ago - the clutch is too heavy for my bad joints, and besides, private schools have uniforms. Why not team America to bond the right wing with the left.


November 13, 2008 1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched Michael Moore on Larry King on this issue and he made a lot of sense to me. He's passionate about the topic, predicting the catastrophes facing this industry many years ago but he was mixed on the concept of an industry bailout. He was angry about the arrogance of the auto industry CEOs in thinking that the American public would continue to buy whatever they put out there, regardless of clearcut trends over oh-so-many years towards foreign cars that are more fuel efficient, less expensive and of higher quality. Regarding the possible bailout, I liked his approach. We can't let all of those people lose their jobs because of bad decisions made by their management teams and neither can we can hand over billions of dollars to the status quo. The management teams (making obscenely high salaries) need to be removed. If the government gives that much money for a bailout, it should in fact own the company and then direct the future activities - building up mass transit, hybrid cars and/or cars using little to no gasoline- while using the existing facilities, current employees and hopefully other unemployed workers in the effort. It seems simple but it makes sense to me. You may love him, hate him or be somewhere in between, but he is always interesting. Here's the link to hear it directly:


PS I vow to finally rent and view "Roger and Me". It's been on my to-do list for a long time and I have moved it up on the priority list based on current events.


November 26, 2008 6:04 PM  

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