Thursday, November 20, 2008

Give the Auto Companies the Loans - But with Strings that Help All Americans

I don't like rewarding the dumb and greedy policies of the big auto companies - for example, churning out huge numbers of gas-guzzling SUVs, when it was clear Americans were wisely getting tired of them - but, as many people have noted, letting the big three auto companies go under would put millions of Americans out of work, with destructive ripple effects all through the economy.

I thus think our government has no choice but to lend the auto companies the billions they need to stay in business, but with the following strings, to make sure the bailout helps those who deserve the help (the American people) and not those who don't (present management).

1. Fire the top management, with no golden parachutes.

2. Their replacements should make at most 1/10 of the current top exec salaries (which are in the multi-millions of dollars).

3. Lower the price of new autos to consumers, by at least 20-percent.

4. Provide tax credits for purchase of all new autos, which would offset state sales taxes. (Or, if all the states are willing to play ball, do away with the state sales taxes on autos, period.)

4. Insist on manufacture of more hybrids, and get them out to consumers more quickly.

I'm sure there could be other strings, and the ones above could be more effectively formulated. But you get the picture: Give the loans to the auto companies, but make sure the American people, not the execs who got us into this mess, truly benefit.
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