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Should the Government Bail Out the Big Three U.S. Automakers? HuffPost Bloggers Weigh In

Posted: 11/19/08 12:56 PM ET

Bail Them Out!


Leo W. Gerard: Congress Bails out Those Who Shower Before Work, but not Those who Shower After Work:

When the representatives of blue collars went to Congress hat in hand, lawmakers insisted that to get loans automakers would have to present viable business plans. Congress didn't impose similar conditions, however, when Bernanke and Paulson went to Congress seeking grants for reckless white collar firms.


Jim Moore: A Kid from Car Country:

The idea that GM and Ford or any of the big names might be on the verge of bankruptcy would be incomprehensible to my father. How could that happen when the UAW built the cars that were designed and the American public gladly purchased them? Consumers wanted SUVs and they came off the line, until the price of gas hit $4.00 a gallon and suddenly Detroit was left with shining, glorious dinosaurs. Is that the workers' fault?


Grant Cardone: How to Create a Successful Auto Manufacturer Bailout Plan:

I believe it is important to our entire economic structure that the auto manufacturers are assisted at this time. However, regardless of where the money comes from, it should never be given without having a solution in place that will resolve the entire problem. Any program that does not address and handle all the components of the problem will not result in any real solution.


Dave Winer: What to Do with Detroit?:

We're giving Detroit money we don't have to feed and house their employees and bail out their suppliers. We're doing it to save our country, not to save the auto industry as it's currently configured.

Dean Baker: Will Henry Paulson Sink Detroit?:

Congress has used its regulatory muscle before to force Detroit to make other improvements to our cars, from seat belts and air bags to catalytic converters, all of which Detroit refused to do voluntarily. Now that the tables are turned and Detroit is doing the begging for a handout to save itself, Congress should demand in return a serious, long-overdue increase in fuel efficiency standards for new cars and trucks.


Laurie David: Adding Teeth to a Detroit Bailout:

Congress has used its regulatory muscle before to force Detroit to make other improvements to our cars, from seat belts and air bags to catalytic converters, all of which Detroit refused to do voluntarily. Now that the tables are turned and Detroit is doing the begging for a handout to save itself, Congress should demand in return a serious, long-overdue increase in fuel efficiency standards for new cars and trucks.


Toby Barlow: Romney's Idiotic Plan for Detroit:

Having the Big Three go bankrupt may lead to some "restructuring," but when you think about the local dealers, the suppliers, and all the businesses contingent on their success -- somewhere between two million or four million jobs are tied to the domestic car business -- your plan stands a good chance of restructuring our economy right into the garbage can.


Matthew DeBord: Bail Out Detroit -- Right Now!:

We'll never have another opportunity to take millions of U.S. workers and transform them, practically overnight, into Green warriors. And we need to do it before Christmas. The North American International Auto Show, which will be staged in Detroit in early 2009, can't be a funeral. It has to be a rebirth.


Robert Creamer: America Needs a Strong, Unionized Auto Industry -- That Requires Government Action:

If we allow the unionized American automobile industry to collapse, we will accelerate the reduction of middle class incomes for everyone. That collapse would start a tidal wave of lower wages and, in turn, lower buying power throughout the economy. The auto industry and its suppliers represent a huge chunk of the American manufacturing sector. The collapse of GM or Chrysler would throw hundreds of thousands of workers onto the shrinking job market. It would start a domino effect of bankruptcies and layoffs among suppliers and dealers all over the country.


Robert L. Borosage: Free Fall:

The time to get started has already passed, as the downturn is accelerating. Tomorrow, as Senate Majority leader Harry Reid suggests, Congress should pass a $100 billion down payment on recovery, while instructing the Treasury Secretary to use some of the $700 billion rescue fund to help keep the auto industry from going belly up, with devastating effects throughout the Midwest.


Jeffrey Feldman: Mitt Romney's Ye-Olde-Times Plan For Detroit:

Now is the time to compel change in the auto industry, not rush into bankruptcy and hasten a wave of layoffs. What Republicans fail to see is plain to anyone with a moral conscience and increasingly apparent even to some who lack one: a bankruptcy for any of the Big Three would bring eruptions of unemployment so destructive it would make Krakatoa seem like a baby's burp by comparison. Sure, millions of auto workers would lose their jobs from Michigan to California (that's right...it would not just be pain for the Mitten State, but everywhere). But that would just be the beginning. Every industry in America would also be destroyed by the eruption of unemployment that would result from a Big Three bankruptcy.


Bill Scher: The Next Bailout: Handouts or Hybrids?:

Such irresponsibility shouldn't be rewarded, but exploited. With the auto industry in dire straits, we taxpayers have maximum leverage to demand the cars necessary to help lower energy costs, cut carbon emissions and reduce our dependency on foreign oil.


Randi Rhodes: Bridge Loan to Nowhere or Bridge Loan to the 21st Century?:

Disaster Capitalism is alive but may be on life support. Time to pull the plug. Republicans may grieve if they wish, but we should dance on its grave and get our money back! We can start with getting $25 billion of the $700 billion back in the next few days. Let's take it from the bank bailout and loan it to the auto industry and build a Bridge Loan to the 21st century.


Michael B. Laskoff: Class Warfare with a TARP:

I am not advocating socialism, but when it comes to bailouts, Motor City and Wall Street should be equal.


Aemilia Scott: Objects in Mirror Seem More Relevant Than They Appear:

As distasteful as it may seem, a bailout of an entity like GM or Chrysler -- companies that employ over 3 million Americans -- are a hell of a lot closer to Main Street than the bailout of a lending institution.



Let Them Fail!


Don McNay: CEOs Need to Run for Sheriff Just Once:

I've been opposed to the bailouts since day one.


Alan Schram: Let GM Fail:

We must not be afraid of the bankruptcy process. Bankruptcy does not mean liquidation. The process will help the company, not eliminate it. It would give GM the cover to do what it absolutely must: close plants, eliminate unprofitable brands and dealerships, and shed its bloated cost structure. It will enable GM to wipe the slate clean and emerge stronger. Going forward it will be able to compete again, without the inspissating heavy burden of past obligations.


Chris Kelly: What's Good for Cerberus Capital Managment Is Good for America:

Autoworkers are aces with me. And so are cars. Very useful for getting around. That said, there are only two reasons to save an American car company: Nostalgia and nativism. And neither of those is a very good reason.

Francine Hardaway: Poor Obama... It Gets More Complicated Every Day:

I am heading to a conclusion that we ought to let these companies go bankrupt, and throw our energy into restructuring them forcibly while shielding them from creditors so they can continue to operate, which always happens in a Chapter 11 filing. They will get DIP (debtor-in-possession) filing, won't they? The board can then throw out the CEO if he isn't doing the job, can't it? And the company will come out stronger.


Pam Atherton: Memo to Automakers Wagoner, Mulally & Nardelli: Fire Your PR People:

Now, there are plenty of other things you three guys could do to win over our confidence and get us on your side to back a bailout plan. But these first mistakes are so significant, it will be extremely difficult to win us over, if you can at all.


Overhaul Them, and Other Options


Nathan Gardels: Woolsey: Any Detroit Bailout Must Break US Oil Dependence:

A mounting chorus of voices -- including President-elect Obama's -- are linking any economic stimulus or any related bailout of Detroit to environmental and energy independence objectives.


Leo W. Gerard: Congress Bails out Those Who Shower Before Work, but not Those who Shower After Work:

When the representatives of blue collars went to Congress hat in hand, lawmakers insisted that to get loans automakers would have to present viable business plans. Congress didn't impose similar conditions, however, when Bernanke and Paulson went to Congress seeking grants for reckless white collar firms.


Joel Shukovsky: Get Your Head Out of Your Detroit:

President-elect Obama risks making the first big mistake of his administration if he condones a $25 billion bailout with these corporate yahoos still at the wheel. Current management has to go the way of the Edsel. America loves a reinvention. The great American automobile is our legacy and Americans deserve to take it back.


Terence M. O'Sullivan: Working People and Good Jobs are the Foundation of Our Economy, Not the Problem:

As pundits address the various reasons for the American auto industry's problems a frequent target won't be bloated CEO salaries, a lack of executive accountability or a flawed business plan. The target will be the men and women who go to work every day doing the best job they can.


Logan Nakyanzi Pollard: Do It For Me, Matchbox Man:

Someone needs to envision and direct the car industry for today. And when you've got half a bucket full of money and the other party has its hand out, that's a good time to start making demands.


David Paul: Will We Let Detroit Go and the Recession Deepen Out of Disgust Over Financial Bailout?:

We have watched one bailout unfold, and we have not been impressed. We heeded the Wise Men, and now we feel violated. But how do we now hold failing auto companies to a higher standard?


Ben Yarrow: A Universal Bailout:

The Big Three automakers are on the brink. So is America's health care system. Done right, bailing out Detroit could save both.


Steve Parker: Detroit's Day of Reckoning (with Thanks to David Halberstam):

Well, it looks like the jig is up, the party's over, the lights are out and Detroit has left the building. And instead of a $25 or $50 billion golden goose, it appears Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which allows a company to stay in business while they reorganize with a government overseer, seems to be where the Detroit Three are headed.


Laurie David: Detroit Bailout -- Let ExxonMobil Foot the Bill:

The best idea I've heard in the last few days comes from an unlikely source, the actor Ashton Kutcher on the Bill Maher show, who repeated the suggestion that the auto industry go meet with the oil industry -- their partner in crime -- and ask them for a bailout. At least we know ExxonMobil can afford it.


Neil Young: How To Save A Major Automobile Company:

The government must take advantage of the powerful position that exists today. The Big 3 are looking for a bailout. They should only get it if they agree to stop building autos that contribute to global warming now.


Jane Hamsher: Chinese Want To Buy the Big 3 Automakers:

All the Shock Doctrine fanatics cheering to drive the the Big 3 into bankruptcy "restructuring" (like Mitt Romney, who can kiss future hopes of electoral victory in Michigan goodbye) might want to think about the implications of this.


Jonathan Tasini: Big Media: Screw the Auto Workers:

We can have an honest, public debate about whether the auto industry should receive taxpayer dollars to keep it from sinking. But, in my opinion, the traditional media has played an irresponsible role in feeding the pro-business, anti-union line that UAW workers are "overpaid".


Charles D. Ellison: Elements for a New Economy:

Let's admit, a reasonable "big idea" alternative to the "bailout" plan is in short supply. Our imagination these days only goes so far as what fixes we can buy ourselves out of. In desperate times we reach only for the most desperate of measures: more money. Should that mean we lose all sense of common sense?


Carl Pope: The Peculiar Politics of Bailing Out Detroit:

The choice facing the federal government is not whether to spend billions on a bailout. It's whether to bail out the company now, in the hope of rescuing it, or to bail out the medical, pension, and unemployment costs of GM retirees, workers, and suppliers after a bankruptcy.


Amitai Etzioni: Bail Out the Workers, Not the Plants:

Rescuing the workers should take the form of paying for their retraining, relocation, and extended unemployment benefits, and even assuming responsibilities for their health insurance and retirement funds, now paid for by the Big Three. The costs of bailing out the workers are much smaller than keeping them afloat by bailing out the plants.


Mitchell Bard: The Meaning of Change Will Be Tested by the Auto Industry Bailout:

The question shouldn't be whether or not to bail out the U.S. auto industry. Rather, the debate should be how assistance to the car manufacturers fits within the larger national energy plan that is greener, self-sustaining and economically positive.


Mitchell Bard: GM Goes Grassroots. A Son is Torn:

In the 27 years we've been a family, our story has never been more important to the country. On the one hand, Dad, if we don't bailout your company and the backbone of our economy, it seems we're doomed. On the other, if we don't work now for our future and a transition to a clean energy economy, we're doomed. It's heart wrenching, Dad. I'll go ahead and tell you now that I will help you, but I need you to be willing to help me too. Please hear me out.


Ray Kimball: Industrial Base:

There are certainly some powerful economic arguments for a bailout of the Big Three. But national security is simply not one of them. In order to tap the best ideas and processes, the whole world must become our industrial base.


Harvey Wasserman: GM Must Re-Make the Mass Transit System it Murdered:

Bail out General Motors? The people who murdered our mass transit system? First let them remake what they destroyed.