A couple more thoughts on the GM, Ford and Chrysler bailout.
As I listen to our representatives ask questions of the "big three" executives I hear them getting the executives to make promises in how they will spend the money. "You must build hybrids" - "already done" say the execs. "You must build cars people want to buy" - "already done" say the execs. "You must give us oversight so we know you spend the money in the USA" - "ok" say the execs. And on it goes.
But my absolute favorite is when these executives assure Representative A that the money is desperately needed for their survival, and then assure Representative B that there will be no problems in paying the loan back.
Note to Representative B: It is a loan. You know there is risk. Shut up and make a decision.
Note to all the rest: These are executives of automobile companys. If you think you can tell them how to run the companys better... you are probably wrong.
The executives you are questioning were not there when their companys blundered by not following up when the US supported the development of hybrid technology in the late ninetys.
Most of you Representatives, however, were there when your decision to offer tax credits for hybrid automobiles put the "big three's" higher mpg offerings at a competitive disadvantage. You gave a boost to Toyota, at the expense of the domestics when you made that decision. And while you keep comparing the failure of the "big three" to not develop a hybrid to Toyota's smart decision to manufacture one, do not forget that the Prius was a bit player until you gave that tax credit. Without the credit it would have had one good year when oil prices skyrocketed.
You also failed to have the foresight to announce that credit would begin three years in advance of actually issuing it. You did not give enough time for the "big three" to prepare. That unbalanced the playing field in favor of what was until then a much less profitable decision by TM.
In the meantime, as you recommend the "big three" emulate the foreign car manufacturers decisions, do not forget the decisions they made to get into the big SUV market just as it prepared to collapse.
Or the fact that the legacy costs happened at a time when you were promoting unions, and Toyota expanded at a time when you were weakening unions.
So shut up, vote, give them the loan, and hope for the best.