The US President Elect is supposed to be new, exciting, fresh, modern, 21st century etc. So why do his ideas appear to come straight from the 1970s? The car makers bailout he is proposing is reminiscent of British Leyland. Obama is shaping up to be the American Stephen Byers.
American car manufacturing isn't actually in a bad way, it's just that it is the foreign companies whose inward investment has created thousands of jobs in the industry who are benefiting, for reasons that Charles Krauthammer sums up here:
Saving Detroit means saving it from bankruptcy. As we have seen with the airlines, bankruptcy can allow operations to continue while helping to shed fatally unsupportable obligations. For Detroit, this means release from ruinous wage deals with their astronomical benefits (the hourly cost of a Big Three worker: $73; of an American worker for Toyota: $48), massive pension obligations and unworkable work rules such as "job banks," a euphemism for paying vast numbers of employees not to work.So if automobile manufacturing is going perfectly well in states without the employment restrictions that Michigan imposes on businesses then surely the sensible thing to do would be to emulate those states. However the Unions are big Democratic party donors and Michigan is a large swing state so bugger what is right.
On the plus side we should all have a laugh when the new eco-friendly models the politicians are going to make Ford, GM and Chrysler produce are unveiled.