The media is still covering the story of the $700 billion+ bailout of banks and other financial insitutions, and others are starting to clamor for one of their own. The biggest bunch next in line are the Big Three automakers, saying they will go bankrupt unless they get billions in aid from the taxpayers. My response to this?
They gambled and lost, and now they want us to bail out three failed businesses and the unions that have hamstrung them. The reasoning for the bailout is that millions are employed by the auto industry, directly and indirectly, and that they would all lose their jobs should the Big Three file for bankruptcy. The only problem with that claim is that it just ain't so.
Sure, quite a few will lose jobs as the Big Three reorganize and streamline their operations, cut costs, and actually start offering cars and trucks the American motorists actually want. Goodness knows Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and other foreign auto companies with factories in the US are doing quite well, not requiring taxpayer money to stay afloat.
But it isn't up to the taxpayers to support the commitments GM, Ford, and Chrysler have made to the UAW. Like any other business in trouble, painful changes need to be made. The UAW members will have to bite the bullet, accept smaller wages and less generous pensions, otherwise no amount of taxpayer money will save the automakers. A smaller cut of the pie is a lot better than no pie at all, and all a bailout will do is delay the inevitable unless major changes are made by management and the union. All the bailout will do is reward failure. It's no different than the bailout of the banks: a taxpayer funded reward for failure. It's got to stop somewhere. The taxpayers are not a bottomless ATM, nor is the government.
Our first mistake was the $700 billion bailout. Let's not follow that with yet another. Tell the automakers 'no'.