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Should the U.S. government bail out American automakers?

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It's the fault of the automakers for not making vehicles that are affordable yet fuel efficient. Besides the US Government doesn't have the money to be bailing anything out, why spend money that you don't have?

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There isn't really a choice at this point. It is important to have the auto industry back up and running but in a more efficient way (both the cars and the industry).

It drives me insane though that for years and years, huge profits were pocketed and not put back into the companies. Also, the "bottom line" and "oil-centric" politics got in the way of doing the research to switch over to more environmentally friendly products, despite the fact that environmentalism has been a concern for decades.

In the same way though, consumers have been displaying a typical "me-first" attitude in wanting everything now and very cheap. As an example, we kill diversity and variety by shopping at the Walmarts to "save money" (so we can spend more on cable TV or coca-cola?) Consumers have the power to vote with their dollars. And we are typically cheap and unwilling to put money into new technologies until it's very late in the game. This issue is vast and complex and not the fault of just one section of people. We have been spoiled and been completely willing to turn a blind eye to all sorts of evidence, until of course terrible environmental disasters started occurring in our everyday life.

We are experiencing the "don't change the stupid traffic intersection until 100 people die from it" syndrome. That is how humans, on a mass scale, are. It's depressing that it took so long, but heartening that people are finally starting to get it. Will it be too late?

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Governments always bail out the rich but never bail out the poor.

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^this is as much a bailout of the working class as the rich.

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What government needs to do is something a bit radical, but not so radical when you get right down to it. At a point where any business, be it a bank, an automaker, or any other enterprise, gets so large that its failure poses a systemic risk to the entire economy, government should then impose some level of control on how that business is operated in an attempt to diminish or eliminate that risk.

The problems of such an approach are serious of course. For starters, one needs to determine how to evaluate the point at which enterprise size becomes problematic in the event of bad corporate decision-making. It's no easy call. And whether government can coerce a business into behavior that ultimately saves it is another open question.

But such a paradigm might inhibit needless mergers and acquisitions. Perhaps there is a size limit beyond which we might want to consider whether we even allow mergers. Perhaps we should let them go unchecked, but regulate more if . Ultimately, I could see the choice being theirs: Get as large as you want, but at some point you are going to have to surrender some of your autonomy if you continue to get even larger, or stay below the size level that ultimately poses systemic risk should your decisions come back to haunt you.

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Don´t worry, the great engineers Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank will design the perfect car that everyone wants to buy.

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I didn't vote this time. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. The US has been so dependent on the automobile for so long, I don't know how it can change, and I don't pretend to have any solutions. Privately owned vehicles have ruined much of Japan too. China and India are next. It seems to be an inescapable phase of industrial "modernization" that Chaplin portrayed so eloquently in his film, "Modern Times."

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I can't find the 'Dunno, don't much care' button.

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GM and Chrysler should be nationalized and the foreign automakers will need to be thrown out the way Japan did to Buick in the 40's - it's only fitting and quite possibly the only way Detroit can make it in the long run.

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How about some questions that are actually related to or are about Japan rather than the US for once?

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They bailed out the bankers. Why not bail out the auto workers? I know that the "big three" are top heavy dinosaurs but I fail to see the logic in the idea that the banks are so bloody important but the auto companies, and their suppliers, are expendable. Can somebody explain why?

In other words, I'm of the opinion that if the fat cats can get bailed out the little guys should be too.

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I have yet to hear a satisfactory explanation as to why we taxpayers have to bailout the auto makers. I've heard politicians saying how it's critical for our economy etc, but in truth I consider industries like Banking, Insurance, Energy, Agriculture, Heavy Industry to be far more crucial to our economy. We would be very hard put without any of those industries. But what if US automakers vanished? How many countries in the world are in dire straights simply because they don't have a domestic auto industry? Just about everyone I know prefers foreign, or US made foreign brand cars anyway. If we need them just to build our military vehicles fine, let them specialize in only that. Cause they sure can't compete making cars for the American consumer.

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I dont like it its not fair, if my business was going down the tubes I would have to file bankruptcy to keep it going or find a way to protect my personal assets. I know were playing with a lot of peoples lives, but remember it was no skin off these guys teeth when they outsourced and cut staff before.

If it comes down to the taxpayer keeping these beasts alive then they should be given a credit to use towards a purchase of a new car. Remember the taxpayer will now be an investor by proxy. I think they should have discounts based on their tax bracket or even government sponsored loans to help in purchase. With this then I think it can spur sales and everybody will have some sort of fairness from this.

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I did not vote because there was not a third option, "maybe".

The maybe is, have they met all the requirements of congress? If they have not then get our money back and split them up in bankruptcy court.

If they have a plan and they have shown us that they can turn it around, then by all means let us invest in them.

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If they can't make cars people want to buy for the price then they should fail.

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In short, I had to vote Yes because without a strong automotive base in a country it is a serious national defense weakness. There is no way to cheaply manufacture similar goods on such massive scales without it, and in times of total war there would be no way to 'flex' the auto industry to other defense measures

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But in general, no they shouldn't get anything. Its kind of a situation like some banks being "too big to fail". Hopefully this new regulation will fix this.

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Don´t worry, the great engineers Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank will design the perfect car that everyone wants to buy.

this cracked me up. We have the new Obama Lada on the way.

Bottom line: bad businesses should fail. There is absolutely no excuse for rewarding bad decisions, especially when you punish the right decisions.

Let them all fail. It will be a bargain for investors who would step in and re-create new successful companies.

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Also, how do you see how people voted without actually voting yourself? This issue can't be boiled down to a simple yes/no, conditions apply.

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Should the U.S. government bail out American automakers?

No. ;]

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I agree with jess.

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Great one here about a guy who tried to buy a Jeep with cash in hand but had trouble wading through the deceptive marketing BS from Chrysler and it's sales stooges.

http://consumerist.com/5162727/jeep-incapable-of-selling-to-man-with-24000-in-cash

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Why note? Everybody else is doing it. Japan is talking about subsidies to help new car buyers (and support the local car industry), Germany is doing something similar. Why not the US? The government should just print more greenbacks (or outsource the work to Pyongyang who I believe do a very nice line in counterfeit US$100). When bailing out the car makers, however, the luddites that currently run these companies should be put out to pasture.

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Nessie - Thanks for one of the funniest stories I have ever read! Hee hee!

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I wish someone would have bailed me out when I bought my Dodge. The government can't come running when every business overpays their CEO's and make's marginal products.

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Sure, bail them out. I think the top execs should receive bonuses too for doing such a fine job. They deserve lavish vacations and fancy dining for manufacturing wonderful, quality vehicles that we all love and can depend on.

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