Bailout Watch 24: "The Playing Field is Not Balanced"

Justin Berkowitz
by Justin Berkowitz
bailout watch 24 the playing field is not balanced

So writes former Chrysler outside counsel Steven Roby in a rebuttal Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times today (the original LAT Op-Ed contended that the US government should not bail out American manufacturers). His thesis of “It’s not the Big 3’s fault” is supported with inventive arguments such as “It’s not the Big 3’s fault” and also “It’s not the Big 3’s fault.” More specifically, he writes that GM, Ford, and Chrysler are just ridiculously, unreasonably burderend by high health care costs, that foreign governments directly subsidize manufacturers, and that other countries manipulate currency. We’ve been through this, time and time again. (He also accuses foreign governments of indirectly subsidizing “their” automakers through grants to research universities. Apparently this lawyer has never heard of the Bayh-Dole Act, which allowed for private patents of government funded research at Universities. And I take it he also has never visited Stanford, Berkeley, Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, Michigan State University, and so on.) But the big problem is that Roby’s article never recognizes any Detroit mistakes: that the Big 3 spent years raking in piles of cash because of SUVs, or benefitted from the chicken tax on pickups, or benefitted from the special EPA status of “light trucks,” or that Chrysler already was bailed out in the past 30 years, or that GM, Chrysler, and Ford haven’t built a truly competitive small car. Roby writes that “The Times should not judge GM, Ford and Chrysler unless it can walk in the shoes of the executives and production workers.” The production workers have gotten the shaft, and nobody is blaming them. But I’d love to walk in the shoes of an executive like Rick Wagoner, whose company can lose billions upon billions of dollars and still go home with a $14 million paycheck. No, the global market for cars is not completely fair. Time to stop complaining and deal with it. Still.

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  • Cheezeweggie Cheezeweggie on Sep 05, 2008

    Wwaaaahhhh !!

  • Ptrott Ptrott on Sep 06, 2008

    One payer health care system is a failure all around the world. Why would we want to fix the failures of the auto industry with destroying an industry that is the marvel of the world? The auto execs did this to the domestic industry and the workers and our economy will pay for it. The big 3 should pay for the mistakes they have made NOT me and NOT you! Tell them to bail their own ass out!

  • Hugh I have no trouble believing they exaggerated somewhat, but I also figure they were factoring in the cost of the research and engineering. I am just disappointed at how they abandoned their own product (again).
  • TheEndlessEnigma Mustang, MX-5
  • Probert I have used both level one and level 2 charging at my house. I use this for local needs. I have a fairly regular 350 mile round trip. I charge after about 125 miles one way, at a level 3 at a KIA dealer. I could do it in a straight shot, but this leaves me plenty of reserve if I need it in the city.I charge at the same place on the way out, adding about 40%, and I'm home free.A number of chargers have opened since I got the Niro 2 years ago, so I have a fair amount of flexibility on this route. I have used EA chargers on the route, and also a handy, and friendly Harley dealer charger.
  • Dan65708323 I think Ford it going to go under. They can't lose 3 billion ever year for years. All their EV's are on stop sales. Good luck Ford.
  • Kcflyer LC 500