I don't think I have ever gotten as much mail from as many different readers as I have received on the auto bailout. Readers seem fairly unified in their outrage and horror at the prospect.
Nancy Pelosi calls the deal a barber shop, where everybody will take a haircut.
There is already an available process for operating companies that cannot meet their obligations where all the parties take a haircut: Its called chapter 11. We have about a zillion man-years of experience with it, in companies great and small. And it does not take idiotic Senators flashing billions of our tax money to mediate it.
The auto industry is tremendously magnetic for wannabee technocrats in Congress, in large part because in perhaps no other industry is there a bigger gap between what the average American wants to buy and what the country's intelligentsia things they should buy.
But US automakers are failing because they have not been very responsive to customers; they have grown fat and complacent, feeling protected by their monopoly power position; they have consistently failed over decades-long periods to make tough decisions vis-a-vis labor and costs; and they have refused to make real prioritization decisions (GM brand strategy is a good example). It is therefore hilarious that Congress thinks it can do better, because wouldn't these same traits be high on the list of failings of the Federal Government itself?
And this is funny, if you have not seen it yet.