Big three ask for bailout

Automakers seek $50 billion in fed loans


WASHINGTON -- Detroit's Big Three automakers are planning an aggressive push on Capitol Hill as they seek up to $50 billion in low-cost loans to speed the development and production of more fuel-efficient vehicles.

General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC would use the money to help pay for retooling of older assembly plants and developing advanced technologies.

This is simply a request for a bailout by the automakers. I know they’ve wrapped it in other language such as “retool to make more fuel efficient vehicles,” but the truth is that any money they receive will disappear into the black holes that reside at the center of each company. Besides the fact that they really should not have been caught unawares again, I think that GM, Ford, and Chrysler should provide clear plans for how they intend to return to profitability using taxpayer money. So far they’ve displayed horrible management skills, and it is not clear to me that the best use of taxpayer money is with these companies.

Instead, I wonder what $50 billion could do the dozens of start-up electric vehicle companies out there? Sometimes companies are just too sclerotic to get out of their own way, and a fresh start is the best option.

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