Archive for November 27th, 2008

The moment of truth in the nation’s automotive bailout debate might have come this week. As the CEOs of GM, Ford and Chrysler begged Congress for federal aid, a Detroit radio talk-show host asked whether Michigan, as well as the car companies, should get assistance. The state is being hit by an economic hurricane, he said, just as New Orleans was hit by a natural hurricane.

Huh? Will the victimology myth never end? Hurricane Katrina was an act of God. The car crisis is an act of man. For the difference, consult the Bible. Any version will do.

Yesterday, congressional leaders gave the car companies until Dec. 2 to come up with viable business plans and renew their request for aid. Meanwhile, it’s worth examining the myths that are shaping this debate. One is GM’s assertion that “bankruptcy is not an option.” In truth, GM already has conceded that it’s bankrupt — by publicly stating it’s nearly out of cash and needs emergency assistance. The company hasn’t made a formal bankruptcy filing, which is no small matter. But it has declared bankruptcy everywhere else. Chrysler, at this week’s Senate committee hearing, did the same.

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