Tags: auto | industry | crisis

Send a Clear Message to the Auto Industry

By John LeBoutillier   |   Wednesday, 12 Nov 2008 12:20 PM

Nancy Pelosi wants to call the House back for an emergency lame-duck session of Congress next week primarily to address the dire situation facing General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler.

OK. Let’s look at the big picture: The U.S. auto industry is on the verge of bankruptcy for one basic reason. For the second time in 30 years they have missed the market and built gas guzzling SUVs that cannot compete with Toyotas and Hondas and hybrid technology in an era of exploding fuel costs.

Sure, labor costs and healthcare costs are also a big problem, but if we sold cars like the Japanese, we could handle all the rest

So here is what we, the people, ought to say through Congress: Detroit, if you want our money here is the deal. We will keep you afloat but in return, you are going to enter an agreement with the U.S. government, including the Pentagon and the Department of Energy, and as a joint, war-time temporary partnership, you are going to immediately re-tool and start building plug-in hybrid cars, electric cars, and hydrogen fuel-cell cars.

We are going to have the smartest government brains work with Detroit’s smartest brains and we are going to leap frog the present internal combustion technology and once again America is going to be at the forefront of the car industry.

Hell, we invented cars, not to mention how to mass produce them.

Let us seize this crisis to turn it into a once-in-a-century opportunity to regain our pre-eminence.

There would be other benefits too:

  • We will begin to get off the addiction of imported oil

  • These new technologies are Green and will help the environment

  • National Security mandates that we no longer be dependent on our enemies and adversaries for a vital product (oil)

  • We can sell these new technologies worldwide and thus help rejuvenate our economy and our manufacturing base

    This is indeed going to cost a lot of money. But we seem to be spending hundreds of billions like we used to spend hundreds of thousands and for a lot less-worthy causes.

    Let us spend this money wisely — not on manicures and pedicures and ridiculous executive pay packages — but on going forward by going backward to the days of American ingenuity and leadership.

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