Written by Marc Rose, courtesy ofÂ Gas2.Org
In between a heavy rotation of aspirin, Tylenol, and Motrin, washed down with the cheapest scotch I could find, I took a few minutes to stop focusing on the ever-imploding economy and my prospects for having a job in six months, to do some problem solving for the world.
According to what anyone of any authority in the United States would have you believe, the collapse of the Big Three automakers (as if they are inextricably linked) would send our economy from the thin patch of ice that it is currently skating on, into the frigid depths to drown. Job loss estimates that Iâ€™ve seen range to two and a half million, not much less than one percent of the entire population of the country. It is for this reason, apparently, that Congress will likely throw a lifeline to each of the Big Three, by printing up trainloads (a Hummer might do actually â€“ thanks GM!) of cash and wishing it well (thanks taxpayers!).
It is said that GM, without assistance, could fail before the end of December. So, I suppose that now would not be a bad time to stop running those Hummer and Cadillac ads, and concentrate on conserving some cash. I remember back in the summer, when there was nothing but optimism surrounding GM. TheÂ Volt, as everyone has forgotten by now (especially GM) was going to be the most technologically advanced, most efficient vehicle ever produced. And the best thing about it? It didnâ€™t resemble a GM car at all. Never mind that it wasnâ€™t expected to roll out until 2010.
So by saving GM, Congress can preserve for all of our consuming pleasure, any and all Buicks, Pontiacs (name one), GMCs and other assorted large, heavy, gas-guzzling vehicles. To my understanding, cars that get twenty miles to the gallon, are unreliable, and unattractive, donâ€™t sell too well in this market. Years ago, economists, governments, and even CEOs fighting regulation, referred to a concept, termed by Adam Smith, as the â€œinvisible hand.â€ Though the concept over time strayed from Smithâ€™s original metaphor, it essentially promoted that market forces, namely consumers, should determine whether a business fails or succeeds. Producers making a good product would thrive, in theory. Those making an inferior product would fall by the wayside.
Itâ€™s hard to argue that GM shouldnâ€™t fall by the wayside. Theyâ€™ve come too far, and accomplished far too little. But perhaps there is a solution. Give them the money, and give the company one simple task. Dismantle all of their confusing, redundant, and overlapping brands, shut down every factory for three months or six months or however long it takes to retool, and roll out the doors of every factory floor, one brand, one vehicle: the Volt. If it fails, we can all feel relief for the relatively quick death of a company thatâ€™s been on life (read taxpayer) support for decades. If it succeeds, we will all have finally gotten our moneyâ€™s worth.