A while back, I said it would be a bad idea to bail out the auto companies. I noted that (1) they had neither expertise nor apparent plans to build the cars America -- and the world -- needs, (2) the loans they were asking for at the time were probably just a first installment, and (3) even on the basis of just the first installment amounts, it would be cheaper to buy them outright.
Since then, the situation has changed – and by “changed” I don’t mean “improved” in any sense.
GM and Chrysler still have no particular expertise nor attractive plans for recovery (what plans they do have seem limited to downsizing, which may well be necessary but hardly supports the “too big to fail” argument).
The two companies are now back for installment two of free government money (don’t you wish we were getting, at least in part, what we’re paying for?).
And – this just in from the front – the US Department of Energy has declined to lend money (by comparison, a tiny amount of seed capital) to a company which (1) has the expertise to build the cars we need – indeed, has started to deliver them, and (2) has a very logical business plan, but which (3) has the temerity to suggest that the car of the future might ride on three wheels, rather than four. (Why? Decreased rolling resistance, which equates to higher mileage per unit of energy. Something I’d think that at least the engineers at DOE would be able to get their minds around.)
Ca plus la change, ca plus la meme chose.