Why I am not willing to bail out Detroit
First, I agree -- it sucks for the workers. And layoffs would be really bad. But pretty much this WSJ article sums up some of the reasons for my objections. I don't like the anti-union subtext (it's the WSJ, what do you expect?), but I also have worked in three different union shops -- two for the twins 800-lb gorillas of education -- and have seen first-hand that union contracts can, in fact, reward incompetence and inefficiency, even while doing some of the very important things they do.
But anyway, back to my tax money and bailouts. I'm happy to see my taxes go to bailout any auto company or airline that is willing to restructure its management pay so that execs are not making hundreds of times more than the workers-- plus bonuses. And the workers? I'm sorry, but they average over $70 an hour. I get something more like $24. The top end for my next academic rank at SLAC is still only about half of what a UAW worker makes. Maybe they could also take a pay cut?
In the case of Detroit, I also don't want them having a share of my tax dollars unless they start making smaller, more fuel-efficient, relatively safe cars that come with more standard safety features. And I want the CAFE exemptions for vehicles clearly not meant for work (e.g., those not farm- and construction trucks -- can you say 'Escalade'?) got rid of. It's not just about the consumption in my books, but that I have a small car. If I get hit by an SUV, I'm screwed.
So yeah, bail out Detroit -- if they change their ways.
And the $700 billion? Again with the cuts to obscene management pay, thanks very much. My Congressional reps? I am nagging them.
ETA: Commenter Kristen points out this post that explains the $71 per hour. Apparently, it's not net -- it's hourly plus cost of benefits AND the costs of retiree benefits. The actual income average is a much more reasonable $60k. That makes things a bit different. $60k is still a very comfortable living wage, but it's not exactly exorbitant for skilled labour. Still shows that education is undervalued, but that, as my dad would say, is a horse of a different story.