The Big 3: Screwed Either Way

It’s disappointing that President Bush gave in to all the hubbub about bankruptcy for GM and Chrysler bringing Earth to a screeching halt. What many pundits have said about the relatively small amount of money indicating Bush is punting the issue to the Obama administration comes as no relief. If you weren’t convinced this whole mess should be sorted out by bankruptcy courts instead of the President and Congress, look no further:

No matter the steps Mr. Obama takes, he is likely to seek a range of opinions. That is what happened in June 2006, when he invited a group of environmental leaders to meet with him to discuss legislation that would increase fuel economy.

At the time, none at the meeting knew that Mr. Obama planned a presidential bid, said Mr. Becker, who was then representing the Sierra Club.

He said that Mr. Obama told them: “If you guys think this is helpful, then I want to go ahead and push this. But if you don’t think it’s helpful, I’ll drop it. I don’t have to do this.”

Excellent. I’ve always said the Sierra Club and other “environmental leaders” should have more influence over our auto manufacturing companies. This is why my feelings on the car industry meltdown have been and remain to be let them burn. Insistence that we “bail out” GM, Chrysler, or anyone else with taxpayer funds is based on the inherently broken assumption that the companies as they are can be rescued, if only Washington had more control.

Even in the New York Times story there are a few blips of common sense:

Mr. Obama said he would provide up to $3 billion to Detroit auto companies and their suppliers to retool their factories in order to produce smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Still, with gasoline prices falling again, it is unclear whether consumer demand will shift so dramatically to small cars.

Emphasis mine. Luckily, not much time is wasted considering market influences in a story about the myriad ways government can fix the industry. More money for ethanol! Higher CAFE standards! And –shoot, that’s the extent of the Obama Plan for Hippy-Happy Cars. I will be surprised (and pleasantly so, to be sure) if the end result is anything but a slower “meltdown” with billions of taxpayer dollars thrown after what GM and Chrysler have already blown.

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