Thursday, December 04, 2008

I'm curious how Progressives can cheer on the demise of an entire industry in the U.S.

Namely, the auto industry. I'm from Detroit so I have a personal perspective on this, but I also have what I think is a general, reasonable, perspective as well. And that is that despite the fact that jobs have gone over seas GM, Chrysler, and Ford still employ a heck of a lot of people inside the United States, people who will be out of work if the government just lets them starve and go out of business. The auto industry is one of the fundamental manufacturing industries that the United States possesses, with the aircraft manufacturing industry up hear in Seattle being another one. To say "Let 'em starve" is to doom a lot of the industrial infrastructure of the United States, to destroy the type of thing our economy depends on and could more fully benefit from if restructuring and alternate policies came along with a bailout. Michael Moore has a Great Column about this. The director of "Roger & Me" doesn't want the auto companies to go out of business---he wants them to be nationalized. There are reasons why this would be a good thing, although it's not likely to happen as a full nationalization so much as the federal government exercising power over how decisions are made in return for a bailout to keep them out of bankruptcy. A big reason would be that a scenario where the federal government exercised very large amounts of power over the big three could help them become more competitive on the world scale by increasing efficiency and productivity through operating them in the public interest as opposed as for private profit. Another would be closing the loopholes letting executives fuck up every couple of years and get bailed out so that they can continue to make millions.

Cars are a strategic export, something that a rebuilt industrial infrastructure in America could depend on. By flushing it down the toilet we throw workers out of work and jeopardize our long term economic strength.

No comments: