- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 6, 2008

There is a way to save the auto industry employees and companies.

No bailouts for anyone until we first do the following: No bailout money to any cities or states until they reduce wasteful spending and raise their own taxes to bail themselves out. If the federal government bails out the cities, the federal government would be running those cities through detailed regulation. This is not good government. Also, citizens must be told what national programs will be raped to fund any bailouts: National defense, education, infrastructure, Medicare/Medicaid, national security, or Social Security?

Some history and context is helpful. We didn’t bail out the rusting American steel industry in the 1950s because they didn’t modernize and become competitive with the German steel industry. Also, we already import 96 percent of our textiles. No bailouts are needed to keep those jobs here. We import Hondas, Volkswagens and Porsches, etc. We’re bailing them out. We import all kinds of food items. We don’t bail out our own small farm owners.

Here are some ‘bailout’ options for the American auto industry. Bailout funds should be used to turn ownership of the failing/failed auto companies over to the employees, with minimal layoffs, and with detailed micromanaged oversight, until we’re fully repaid.

Secure and pay the auto industry employees’ severance payments and/or retirement packages. Retool Detroit to make hybrid cars, with minimal layoffs.



Congress can also lend-finance the “Made-in-America” foreign car plants that might need to be built so our unemployed auto workers can relocate to find jobs building foreign-designed vehicles. We would receive a percentage of every car made until every penny is repaid. Also, extend employees’ unemployment and health benefits for up to two years, while retooling or building any new plants.

COL. DAN McELWAIN

Air Force (retired)

Culpeper, Va.

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