Should We Bail Out the Automakers?

I'm sure many of you are aware that Detroit automakers are lobbying the government (and the public in their website GM Facts and Fiction) for a $25 billion bailout loan package. The CEOs of the Big Three automakers, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler went before the House of Representative ... and got grilled over their use of private jets (estimated at $20,000 apiece):

Some lawmakers lashed out at the CEOs of the Big Three auto companies Wednesday for flying private jets to Washington to request taxpayer bailout money.

"There is a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington, D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hand, saying that they're going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses," Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-New York, told the chief executive officers of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.

"It's almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo. It kind of makes you a little bit suspicious."

He added, "couldn't you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled or something to get here? It would have at least sent a message that you do get it."

Link

What do you think - should the federal government bail out the automakers?

[poll=10]

Update 11/19/08 - Here's a thoughtful op-ed piece by Mitt Romney at The New York Times: Link

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I think the bail out was bad idea. First reason as a civilian our government has put in billions into Chrysler, GM which is stupid, workers that were making 75$ a hours or 150 000 $ a year with no education. Also terrible I make about 50 000 a year and they think I’m going to support a big auto company that has abuse there costumers with poor quality vehicle. If they were going to go bankrupt and liquidated everything so be it they deserve it.
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The bail out will only help those people at the top time to get there many houses,cars,art,investments in order.Within a few years the money will be gone,everyone will be saying what happen,bla bla bla.Instead of a bailout,invest in training,schooling,new industries,new car companies that can build us a toyota or honda quality car.
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Much better idea. Take that 34 billion and divide it up between every adult US citizen. They will pay off all their bills, including their homes so knowone is now homeless. Then take some of it and buy a new car or perhaps two. Now the banks have their money back, the big 3 now are making money so will not need a bailout. The economy will boom because people will be spending again. Oh and lets not forget before all else, tax the amount recieved (up front) so the govt. now gets a good percentage of their money back. Appears to be a win win to me.
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Has anyone noted even if get the bailout, Chrysler still planning on laying off several thousand workers. also, what good is a bailout? the big three have cut the cost of a new vehicle down to rock bottom and still the general public does not have the money to buy a new car. what good would a new car do you if you lost your home? We have cut corners everywhere possible but our dollar seems shrink more everyday.First we were told the cost of food went up because it cost more to bring the food in (cost of fuel.) Same with our power and gas bills. Now the cost of fuel way down but no effect on our power or gas bills. What is the excuse now I wonder. Bottom line, a bailout for the big 3 would be useless because the general public would still not be able to afford the vehicle.
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