Sunday, December 07, 2008

Saving Detroit

OK, I've been thinking about this for quite awhile. We need to save jobs. And we need to do it smarter than we did for the banks. Ultimately financial institutions only shuffle ones and zeroes, auto companies create real wealth by making things. In a sane world we'd spend the $2 trillion (or more) saving our industries and bicker over whether the banks deserve a mere $34 Billion. But since we live in bizarro world we are now negotiating between Congress and the White (quack) House to advance a mere $15 billion to let the auto companies stay open long enough to lay off half their workforce.

I think I have a better idea. Let's put their entire workforce back to work, on overtime, maybe even let them hire some of the 1.9 million people who have lost jobs this year. Let's do it in a way that puts them on the course to offering the high mpg and alternate fuel vehicles the world - and environment - really need.

Instead of lending them money to lay off workers, let's use that money to buy a whole bunch of cars.

Let's place an order for a million vehicles.

Phase one is for versions of the hybrid vehicles they already make.
Phase two is for their first generation conversions of existing vehicles to plug in hybrids.
Phase three is for a variety of new vehicles to meet special needs and new refined models of plug in hybrids, all electrics, alternative fuels and other new technologies.

The government would use these vehicles as replacements for retiring vehicles in the existing federal motor pool, for new needs, as well as for sales to other governments in the US and abroad, and even to corporate fleets. In other words, It would replace purchases the government would make anyway, except with new technology, plus create an inventory for the government to resell.

And with $30 billion in assured sales, the automotive companies should have no problem obtaining bridge loans to meet short term liquidity needs from the banks who have received $2 trillion in government money.

I know ... it isn't socialism, but it just might work anyway.

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