Sunday, November 16, 2008

What Should an Auto Company Bailout Look Like?

In exchange for government aid, the Big Three's creditors, shareholders, and executives should be required to accept losses as large as they'd endure under Bankruptcy protection, and the CAW should agree to some across-the-board wage and benefit cuts. The resulting savings, combined with the bailout, should be enough to allow the Big Three to shift production to more fuel efficient cars while keeping almost all its current workforce employed. Ideally, major parts suppliers would adhere to the same conditions. What must be avoided is a re-run of the U.S. Chrysler bail-out of the 1980s--when that company took a big chunk of public money and then turned around and laid off 1/3 of its workforce.

In exchange for job security, trade unions should agree to wages-plus-benefits that are closer to what North American workers for Toyota, Honda, and Nissan make--e.g. @$50 per hour instead of the $67 per hour that Big Three workers currently make.

That's tough medicine, but reasonable from this taxpayer's point of view.

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