Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What do we do with Detroit?

Obama is pushing Bush to bail out the Big 3 auto makers. Three millions lost jobs if we don't. If Bush doesn't do it, it looks like Obama/Pelosi/Reid will do it themselves. I ran across this article which quotes no less an authority than Wharton's Jeremy Siegel as saying:

"Any bailout of the auto industry is really a bailout for the health benefits of
the UAW [United Auto Workers]. That's all it is."
So Obama's coziness with unions comes home to roost almost immediately. And we're going to reward horrible management and institutionalized mediocrity. Are the Big 3 really "systemic" and "too big to fail?" Obama talks about using the money to "retool" them to build more fuel-efficient cars--is that really feasible, especially with the crushing union obligations? If we give them money, I hope management is summarily fired.

What about hitting the reset button on the U.S. car industry? Wouldn't you rather spend a fraction of the money and give, say, Elon Musk's Tesla Motors some more growth capital to develop their electric battery and drivetrain and scale their production lines? Maybe force Chrysler to license Tesla's technology and produce a certain number of electric cars? After all, Silicon Valley voted for and funded Obama too.

1 comment:

GammaBoy said...

Agreed. See my comment on my last post. And Wikipedia PBGC. This is the government entity that will collapse if GM declares bankruptcy.

Giving money to GM will only help to support existing and retired union members. GM as a functional company is dead. Maybe all the Big 3 are.

Having recently shopped for a small SUV for my wife, all I can say is that the Big 3's cars suck ass. The upside is that if you are in the market for a truck, you can buy one now brand new for something like 60% of sticker. Nice business.