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Argument: US government should nationalize US automakers

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Matthew F. Pawa. "Saving Detroit - from itself". The Boston Globe. 16 Nov. 2008 - Congress is poised to enact a massive taxpayer bailout of GM, Chrysler, and Ford. Congressman Barney Frank is charged with crafting the emergency legislation. Our leaders apparently believe they have only two bad choices: do nothing and let the domestic automobile industry die, or postpone the inevitable by throwing good money after bad.

There is a third option: a government takeover of these companies with a mandate to make the green cars of the future. Only the creation of a government corporation with the power to take these companies over, shake up their management, unshackle them from their pension and healthcare liabilities, renegotiate union contracts, and give them a clear mission to produce the ultra-efficient, green cars of the future will save the American automobile industry.

[...]If taxpayers spend billions on a company like GM, which currently has a market value of $1.8 billion, we should have ownership. Congress should create a government corporation, charge it with buying a controlling stake in struggling, domestic automobile manufacturers, and give it a clear mission to shake up these companies and produce the clean, green cars of the future.

A government-run automobile company could draw on the best minds and innovations in the country. Small companies that already have developed breakthrough technologies but lack the money to mass produce their vehicles could be brought into the enterprise. Broad legal authority could be granted to renegotiate union contracts. America could get out of the back seat on fuel economy and take a leadership role in producing the green cars of the future. And eventually, the government could sell off its stake piece by piece.

There is precedent for successful government corporations. Volkswagen was wholly government-owned for over a decade and even now remains partially government-owned. For over 70 years the Tennessee Valley Authority has met President Franklin Roosevelt's call for "a corporation clothed with the power of government but possessed of the flexibility and initiative of a private enterprise."

The challenges America now faces are comparable to those we faced in the Great Depression. And they call for similarly far-reaching and visionary measures. The taxpayers should rescue the domestic automobile industry from itself."


Michael Moore. "What would it take for you, Congress, to drive off the lot with a new car company today?". The Daily Beast. 3 Dec. 2008 - Congress must save the industrial infrastructure that these companies control and the jobs they create. And it must save the world from the internal combustion engine. This great, vast manufacturing network can redeem itself by building mass transit and electric/hybrid cars, and the kind of transportation we need for the 21st century.

And Congress must do all this by NOT giving GM, Ford, and Chrysler the $34 billion they are asking for in "loans" (a few days ago they only wanted $25 billion; that's how stupid they are—they don't even know how much they really need to make this month's payroll. If you or I tried to get a loan from the bank this way, not only would we be thrown out on our ear, the bank would place us on some sort of credit rating blacklist).

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