Dan Neil, one of the most well-known automotive writers in the country, wrote a column in today’s L.A. Times suggesting the U.S. government should buy GM outright, in its current shaky position. At first, his proposed $30 billion-$45 billion for GM sounds outrageous, but he raises a few good points that most have missed in the bailout discussion.
One, the Japanese competition are basically subsidized by their governments because of state-run health care and retirement benefits. Obviously, a U.S. company paying those wages themselves would be at a disadvantage. Two, only the government could hold the necessary long-term view — forgoing short-term profits — to develop fleets of green vehicles. That’s an intriguing thought; if new vehicles require a new infrastructure, wouldn’t they indeed need to be backed by the government in some form, as would the rest of the infrastructure?
It’s an interesting read; Neil says the U.S. should buy all three companies, and that Chrysler wouldn’t have a big impact if it failed — and the whole thing is clearly labeled “opinion.”
Nationalize GM (LA Times)