Monday, November 17, 2008

Is Detroit the Decider

As America's economy teeters on the brink of collapse, it is necessary to evaluate the pillars of our economic system. Certainly the Government can't save every mom and pop store from bankruptcy, but allowing the wrong pillar to fall could collapse the building. Detroit's automakers may very well be the last shaky column. Though the auto industry does not support the economy, its effect on the job market would be enormous should it fail. If the U.S. auto industry falls, three million jobs immediately disappear and the natural flow of things that free marketers tout as the solution becomes Niagara Falls.

The Japanese and European automakers salivate at the thought of three giant competitors falling. The idea that consumers will still purchase vehicles from auto manufacturers who are in the midst of chapter eleven is wishful thinking. Chapter Eleven procedures for a manufacturer creates the natural consumer fear of purchasing an obsolete product. This will mean a near halt in sales and the end of America's portion of the worldwide auto market, one that we are not guaranteed to regain.

The Republican Party is fighting the auto industry bailout and gambling that Detroit is not the final nail in our economic coffin. Three million auto workers and likely five times that number of related jobs may be more than America can handle both emotionally and in real dollars. Consumers may panic and freeze spending killing the last hope for avoiding a depression. If the Congressional Republicans have their way President Obama will be rebuilding the U.S. economy from the ground up, but they'll have nothing to rebuild.

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