December 8, 2008
Most businesses that can’t find enough customers for their products go out of business. Not Detroit.
The chairmen of the so-called “Big Three” drove themselves to Washington last Thursday in energy efficient cars to plead for billions of dollars to bail them out from bad management decisions and congressional pressure to make cars people have not wanted.
The CEOs submitted a plan to pay the government back, but there was testimony that what they want will not be nearly enough. If not enough people are buying their cars now, why would they buy them later? They’re buying foreign cars, many made in America, because customers prefer them.
The head of the United Auto Workers union promised reforms in pension and retirement benefits. That’s good because the UAW has helped bring the car makers close to ruin.
I sympathize that many will lose their jobs if Detroit doesn’t get bailed out, but taxpayers might be better off if the autoworkers and their suppliers were trained for other jobs rather than place them on expensive life support when they are clearly dying.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.