So, should we spend billions of dollars to save an industry that has stifled innovation and progress for thirty years? Should we write a check for the manufacturers that have literally driven us to the brink of climate disaster?
It comes down to this: you simply can not call yourself an environmentalist without raging and fighting, tooth and nail, against this bailout.
If you think that Detroit can change and innovate and build the vehicles of the future, then I'm afraid that you're the victim of an abusive relationship. Just look at this quote from GM vice chairman Bob Lutz in an interview yesterday (not two years ago, before gas prices spiked, not two months ago, before the Detroit beg-a-thon, but yesterday, for Christ's sake):
LUTZ: Let me just get one thing straight here: There’s a lot of talk about well, General Motors doesn’t make the right kind of cars or General Motors built trucks too long. At $1.50 per gallon, the American public wants sport utilities and large pickup trucks [source].
You can sympathize with the desire to save American manufacturing. But these companies' decades-long mismanagement and monopolistic struggle against innovation is what created the Rust Belt. The bigger threat to our manufacturers is the fact that their biggest customers are such poorly-managed corporations.
It's also important to note that Maine has very little reliance on the Anemic Three for our manufacturing industries. The few auto-parts suppliers that are based in New England do just as much business with successful firms like Toyota as they do with the Three Failures. For Mainers, the bailout represents a massive transfer of taxpayer money out of our state and into the Rust Belt, where it will fester and continue to rot away at American manufacturing industries with lousy management and obsolete technology.
It's time to call our Senators. The bailout is bad for Maine. It's bad for our environment. It's bad for our workers.
Olympia Snowe's Washington office: (202)-224-5344; or toll free: (800)-432-1599
Susan Collins's Washington office: (202) 224-2523; or fax: (202)-224-2693