Called, "Saving Detroit From Itself," it's another opinion piece that favors throwing a chunk of change Detroit's way. This time, however, the NYT has changed the tune a bit. They start out by saying:
We have seen a lot of posturing, but we haven't heard a lot of sense in the debate over whether the government should spend even more to bail out Detroit's foundering automakers.
Hmmm... they must be reading their own editorial page! But I digress...
They go on to say that Republican Senator Richard Shelby is wrong in saying the troubles of Detroit are "not a national problem." I agree with the NYT that problems as big as this one turn into a problem on the national stage. A loss of jobs on the scale of which they speak is a big deal and will affect the nation's economy as a whole. But just because it's a problem that will affect the entire nation... does that mean that the government has to intervene?
Back in October, the NYT was saying that money should be thrown at the companies simply based on the fact that we can't let them fail right now - and that it made sense to do it even if it only staved off their inevitable failure. Now, they're saying:
...Congressional democrats and President-elect Barack Obama, who are pushing for many billions worth of emergency aid for the nation's least-competent carmakers, must ensure that tough conditions are attached to any rescue package. If not, the money will surely be wasted.
This goes beyond firing top management, forbidding the payment of dividends to stockholders and putting limits on executive pay - all necessary steps. The government should insist on a complete restructuring of any company it pours billions of public funds into.
What does it go to if it goes beyond those things? Improving fuel efficiency!! Building smaller cars!! According to the NYT, "If Detroit were willing to make smaller cars, as European companies do, it could probably achieve a fleet-wide average of 50 m.p.g. by 2020." Also, the restructuring "would mean that creditors would have to swallow a loss or accept equity - as under a regular bankruptcy filing. Restructuring would likely require more plant closures and layoffs."
Ah... so I see!! The NYT wants the government to use this "crisis" as a means to grab for power and ownership of private companies and to push through their agenda of teeny death traps for American roads. Since throwing that cash at Detroit and implementing this agenda would also mean that everything else would proceed as "under a regular bankruptcy filing."
I certainly hope not too many people fall for that one.