Although I know this blog has some readers who think the market should handle everything, I do not agree. I am one of those old-fashioned American pragmatists who takes it one issue at a time. Dumb as it sounds – sometimes government works and sometimes it doesn’t.
So I have to say Barack Obama seems to be making sense with his proposals to America’s fusty auto industry:
The Democratic presidential contender, in a speech yesterday that drew about 2,000 people to a sold-out Detroit Economic Club luncheon, also proposed what he called a government-industry bargain: Auto makers would get some federal assistance for their crippling retiree health-care costs, in return for producing more fuel-saving hybrid vehicles. And Mr. Obama promoted his new legislation, an idea borrowed from California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, mandating a low-carbon fuel standard for the oil industry to spur development of alternative fuels.
Actually, Obama is doing General Motors, et al, a favor. Toyota is already cleaning their clock. The lack of innovation in Detroit is mind-boggling. I have written before that I thought they should hand the US auto industry to Steve Jobs – or, failing that, transfer the whole thing to the Silicon Valley or somewhere where executives are unafraid of the future. How about handing control of General Motors over to Boeing?