President-elect Obama is now pressuring President Bush to bail out the car companies.
So it's not enough, for Obama, to have government meddling in the financial sector. Now we have to prop up dying dinosaurs in the auto industry as well.
Here's what I don't get. We bail out airlines, despite the fact that Southwest's success demonstrates that we don't need to - airlines can survive on their own. We bail out car companies, despite the fact that Toyota demonstrates that well-run car companies can succeed on their own. Unlike the financial sector, whose failure can be attributed to a lot of different things, the failure of the American auto companies can be attributed to one thing - friggin' stupid leadership. The heads of the car companies hitched their wagon to the SUV/gas guzzler star, and when gas prices scared people out of large cars, they had no plan to switch to small cars.
So let GM fail. Let Ford and Chrysler suffer. Instead of rewarding companies whose leadership is idiotic with government cheese, let's spend our money on helping workers adjust to the disappearance of their employer. Seems to me some company, somewhere, will pick up the slack and start making more cars in GM's place. Which means that company will start hiring more. Creative destruction, people. If there's a role for the government in all this, it's to protect the employees who get caught in the middle. Otherwise, shouldn't we just let companies rise and fall as the market dictates?
In other news, this whole bailout thing could put us on the hook for (inserts pinky finger in mouth) five trillion dollars. That's really damn expensive.