Bailout Watch 430: In the Long Term, We're All Dead

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
bailout watch 430 in the long term we re all dead

According to the silver-lining seeking scribes at The Detroit News, the Presidential Task Force on Automobile is taking the long-term view on the Motown meltdown. Hang on. Didn’t DetN scribes Gordon Trowbridge and Christine Tierney read Daniel Howes latest column? You know, the one where Mr. Howes called bankruptcy deniers “deluded.” And yet, less than twenty-four hours later, the word “bankruptcy” appears in the DetN’s Task Force article exactly none times. Instead, there’s a hopeful assumption that the Obama admin wants YOU to support Chrysler (maybe), GM (definitely) and Ford (maybe) for as long as it takes to . . . well, we’ll get to that in a minute.

The federal auto task force that arrives in Detroit on Monday has spent the past two weeks meeting with a range of industry players, pushing its work beyond the automakers’ immediate cash crisis and strongly hinting at a longer term goal… the group’s focus appears to extend far beyond the balance sheet, looking more deeply into the question of what a successful U.S. auto industry would look like in the long run.

Yeah, that’s what I want: a gaggle of professional politicians deciding what the American auto industry should look like under a new five-year plan. So, how much is this boondoggle going to cost me? As the DetN points out, it’s not all about money (even though it is). DC’s going to make sure there’s plenty of green in that mean, mean, mean; mean green.

. . . the White House sent strong signals this week that it is considering energy and environmental issues alongside financial matters. White House officials said discussions of a single, national greenhouse gas standard, which could supersede attempts by California and other states to set their own standards, are part of the restructuring process.

As we’ve pointed out many times, Detroit ain’t gonna take a free ride. If congress stumps-up a $34B “loan” for General Chyrsler, they’re going to demand that their beneficiaries let nature sing. Clearly, Detroit’s automakers are keeping bad, bad company; ’til the day they die.

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  • ChuckR ChuckR on Mar 08, 2009

    When a Navy ship runs aground, doesn't matter who is OOD, the captain's career is over. It is a discipline that works. This suggests that one piece of the methodology is a chop that starts at the top and extends downwards for several layers. Why do we buy into the idea that the guys who have run the companies into the ground are the best, the brightest and the onliest? Then there is the plight of our tax-dodger Treasury Secretary, who can't find enough of the best and brightest to constitute his senior management. Again, he's recruiting from the people who have given us an epic fail. New blood may not save the car cos. or the banks, but old blood will surely be the death of them.

  • BDB BDB on Mar 09, 2009

    RF-- If I knew how they should do it I'd be the Car Czar. But shuttering the most unprofitable brands and culling the number of dealerships would be a good start. It would be a lot easier for the federal government to do both those things (especially the latter) than it would be for the current crew. When GM/Chrysler return to profitability, privatize them. Like I said either nationalization with government money or no government money and C11. I'd prefer either to what we have now, wouldn't you? Namely, government money to private hands with no strings attached while the companies continue to be run into the ground. We're spending taxpayer money just like we would with nationalization without any say whatsoever.

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