All three CEO's of the nations major automakers, Rick Wagoner of GM, Alan Mulally of Ford, and Robert Nardelli of Chrysler just flew into the nations capital in their luxury corporate jets to speak to Congress about getting a 25 billion dollar slice of the taxpayer bailout pie.
The automakers arrived in Washington after spending millions on a coast to coast advertising campaign that warned of the impending disaster to the economy if the Congress did not come through and help them with a loan.
The truth is that if the Congress does grant the automakers any type of bailout, they will not have not helped their dire situation in the long run.
Instead, Congress and the taxpayer will have become a a short term enabler to the three largest car makers in the domestic automobile industry. There is a distinction here that is crucial.
Helping is doing something for someone that they are not capable of doing themselves. Enabling is doing for someone things that they could, and should be doing themselves.
Detroit created its own problems by relying too much on trucks and SUVs. They have not built the fuel efficient cars that Americans need and want. Meanwhile, the unit cost structure of the Big 3 automakers remains far to high and it is simply not competitive in the global marketplace.
The United Auto Workers (UAW) have to accept cuts in pay and benefits. Then, the automakers need to make the fuel efficient cars at a competitive price that the country wants. Their current business model does not work, so all current management needs to be fired by their boards.
Taxpayer dollars invested in this industry in its current form is a bad investment. Congressional enabling of the automobile industry with a loan or bailout will not solve their problem but only postpone their day of reckoning while costing the taxpayer billions in the process.
Congress can help the automobile industry by sending a clear message of no taxpayer bailout. Those begging CEO's should head back to Detroit and begin to do their jobs.
Getting rid of the luxury airplanes and the rest of their executive perks would be a very good place to start.