Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Pitiful End of the American Auto Industry

With the United States treasury being plundered by Wall Street, it was only a matter of time before the CEO's of the American automakers wanted to do the same. Once upon a time in this country, American built cars were the best in the world. Then came the 70's, with two major oil shortages and a sagging economy. Does anyone remember the Pinto? Or the Gremlin? These were America's answer to the new Japanese upstarts, Honda and Toyota, who were turning out little cars like the Civic that got 40 miles per gallon. Unfortunately, the American versions weren't as fuel efficient nor dependable. Since then, Ford, GM, and Chrysler have seen their market shares dwindle. Now that Honda and Toyota are selling more cars than the Big 3, the pinheads who manage these companies believe the American taxpayer should be obliged to bail them out. GM asks for $18 billion to keep the company alive, but will still have to let go of 20,000 employees. Can someone with a degree in economics explain to me the logic behind giving a company $18 billion of taxpayers' money? Instead of giving them money, should the government get into the auto business and just assume ownership of one of the Big 3? Invest some capital in developing cars that don't rely on fossil fuels, perhaps develop technology for better mass transit systems such as light rail? Or is that too radical of an idea? Should government have ownership of any company? We already have a huge interest in AIG, why not invest in ownership of something that manufactures something tangible. To all my friends and family out there, I know you have an opinion on this, I want to hear them. Please educate me.

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