This is one of the best ideas I’ve heard in a while with regards to helping the American economy. I have to resist just copying the entire post here, but here’s the main point:
If people don’t buy cars, there is no amount of bailout that will save the millions of US jobs in and related to car manufacturing. If they’re not making cars, the manufacturers won’t recall workers or order from their suppliers. It’s as simple as that.
But there’s a pretty simple solution as well. The US government should order a complete replacement for its vehicle fleet to be delivered over the next four years. The new vehicles must be either plugin electric hybrid, pure electric, or possibly natural gas. Obviously retooling both at the manufacturers and suppliers is required to deliver this order so the government should be willing to prepay a significant part of it as it does for new weapons systems. That gets money into the system fast and creates/saves jobs almost immediately. It lets the suppliers retool as well as the final assemblers.
It’s a bit stomach turning the way our government decides to just fork over mountains of cash with few strings attached to large corporations who are in trouble: banks, airlines, auto manufacturers.
I’ve often heard the complain (mostly from conservatives about liberals) that just throwing money a problem won’t automatically just fix it. That’s very true, and in the case of recent financial bailouts, I couldn’t agree more (and this was also bipartisan). That being said, there are very few issues that get solved for free, either. And with issues as large as these, the federal government is really the only institution that has the ability to tackle them. But can’t we use that leverage and strength to address the underlying problems? Are we really so short-sighted of a people as to just want things back the way they were a few years ago?
The point is not to save American companies from themselves. The point is to use American tax money to help make America a better place for Americans. (via Daring Fireball)