Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Detroit Bailout

I have to admit: I am still working through my position on the Detroit Bailout. On one hand, the Big Three (GM, Ford, and Chrysler) are failing companies with failing business models. On the other hand, they control the fuutres of millions of precious jobs. What do I think? I don't know. I spend my life studying such questions, but still -- I honestly do not know

George Will, a conservative columnist I respect a great deal, claims to know, and says let the companies go bankrupt:

After being restructured through bankruptcy, the Detroit Two, or One, might flourish. Let's find out. The ruinous alternative is to squander, in a doomed attempt to 'save jobs,' more scores of billions of scarce capital that will then be unavailable for job-creating investments in rising industries.

I think I might agree. But I am utterly un-confident. And my feeling is, if any American looks himself or herself in the mirror today, the honest reflection is of somebody who is similarly unsure of anything right now. Let our public pronouncements be equally unsure -- only with such truth-telling will credible confidence re-appear in the future. George Will, are you really as certain about the right thing to do as you claim? I seriously doubt it.

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