November 17th, 2008
10:10 PM ET

On the Radar: Tuesday

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

The already hot debate over a bailout for U.S. auto makers is reaching inferno temperatures. The Senate could vote this week on a bill introduced today to rush aid to the ailing Big 3 auto makers.

The proposed aid would come out of the $700 billion financial rescue plan that Congress approved to help banks and other financial companies. Critics are saying, “Whoa! If we help the Big 3, every other struggling industry will be lining up for help.” Not to mention the fact that car manufacturers aren’t banks or financial companies.

Of course, it’s not that simple, given the interconnectedness of today’s economy.

While the sparks are flying on Capitol Hill, tomorrow on 360 we’ll look at a provocative question: What if the government doesn’t bail out the Big 3? What if Chrysler, Ford and General Motors were simply allowed to fail? One side of the debate warns that doing nothing would result in economic catastrophe; the other side sees the tough love approach as an opportunity for the industry to remake itself to compete in the 21st century global market. Tom Foreman has the story.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on saving the Big 3. Should the government give U.S. auto makers CPR – paid for with your tax dollars - or a huge helping of tough love?

We’ll also be keeping a close eye on the Obama transition. We’ll have the details on any new announcements about staffing and other appointments.

See you tomorrow!

Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Marc

    How is it that the Auto industry is of greater importance to the United States economy then the entire building industry which also encompasses the mortgage and banking industry? Is it because of foreign trade and exported jobs and parts. Should we care about another countries economy before ours at home. Here we go with "The Auto industry has to have an answer NOW!. Big mistake.

    November 18, 2008 at 8:31 am |
  2. ralph

    Republican obstruction after getting rid of a balanced budget and giving unproductive trickle down tax cuts(again) have no right to say which get and don't get help. The rich and small business tax cuts have created our tremendous run up in national debt being called government spending. This is so they can make changes they like. Get rid of unions to get elected,get rid of social security, and anything else that does not fit their policy which dates back to before1929. They would like us to believe the unions are to blame for our auto industries problems. Maybe Congress having all the same benefits should be looked at. In fact why do the Republicans support socialistic benefits for themselves and their families but not out in the world of capitalism? In fact why do we support any retirements or health insurance for government employees. It's time they enter the world of capitalism so when their tax cuts destroy the economy again next time they will be big losers too.

    November 18, 2008 at 6:25 am |
  3. Antoine P. Brunson

    Hell No! I understand that a lot of people would lose their jobs and I'm sorry for that. But I don't believe we should bail out these companies. They obviously made bad business decisions over a long period of time. They Failed! That's Capitalism. They didn't give me a break when I couldn't make my inflated car payments. Not even refinancing, let alone paying off my debt and letting me ride.

    November 18, 2008 at 1:53 am |
  4. DesperateInOhio

    We think Wall Street should bail out the auto industry.

    November 18, 2008 at 1:11 am |
  5. 2PEG

    Hey, how about bailing out the thousands of home owners who are still facing possible bankruptcy? And I think I deserve a bonus too!! After all, I have had to bear the constant weight of ignorant leaders and media specialists my whole life.

    If any money goes to the auto industry, it needs to be entirely to develop green, environmentally friendly, economically competitive cars in the US. If it is going to be paid for by taxpayers, it needs to be voted on by taxpayers.

    November 18, 2008 at 12:21 am |
  6. Jim Piazza

    One of the few remaining manufacturing industries in the US are the big 3 and the Unions are going to take them and throw them away by forcing them out of business. Their behavior is inexcusable, holding hostage to the companies that employ them. $1200 of each car goes to pay for benefits vs $200 for the imports. I wish I could sit around for 2 YEARS and earn 96% of my pay for doing nothing.

    If the US is going to loan them money, there should be provisions put into place by completely revamp the contracts put in place by the Unions like removing the rediculous benefits put in place. Health insurance to the employees, and a severance package not to exceed 6 months (based on history with the company).

    November 18, 2008 at 12:17 am |
  7. Doug Parsons

    I am an auto worker and it seems that everyone wants to slam us and blame our middle class standard of living for the auto industries problems when in fact others would not be making the wages they are right down to the non-union shops. No one is talking about the people on wall street and their wages and benefits and how they are over paid for what do. You people need to also get the story straight on our benefits. I have 22 years in as an electrician and have not had a pay raise in 8 years and keep loosing more on medical each contract. Also everyone always wants to make sound unreasonable on layoff benefits so they always say we make 95% of our wages on layoff to make the public feel resentment for us. So lets get that straight it is 95% of our net 40 hr. check less $25.00 and taxes out of that. Please do the math. I pay at least 25% in taxes so that is not 95%. Thanks Doug

    November 17, 2008 at 11:59 pm |
  8. Dan from MN

    I would say the government should aid them BUT on certain conditions, the main one a forceful reorganization of the staff of each of the 3 corporations (specially on sales and spending) WITHOUT any job cuts. If this is not possible and the gov doesn't aid them, then it's dooms day for the big 3, for they may have to merge with each other to survive, maybe Chrysler with Ford, GM may be the strongest to survive by itself.

    November 17, 2008 at 11:51 pm |
  9. Katharine Gaylord

    Even though it would not a good thing to just give money to the Big 3, but the problem is that there are too many jobs at stake and with the way economy is going the US CANNOT afford to not save the auto industry. I believe that there needs to be a clear consensus and understanding that the government is not the solution to everything, but there are times when the government needs to step in and THAT TIME HAS COME!!!

    November 17, 2008 at 11:42 pm |
  10. brooks

    I believe if a system of checks and balances are followed we should help retool the big 3 in order to compete in the future. What is wrong with investing in America....anyone see that Bank of America is investing 3 billion in Chinese bank? Is that where our money is going?

    November 17, 2008 at 11:41 pm |
  11. Evelyn

    Hey Andersoon

    I work for the Toyota plant in Fremont CA, and guess what we do have a union UAW local 2244, and I get paid good

    So maybe before you guys talk about a story look into the facts.

    November 17, 2008 at 11:18 pm |
  12. T.M.Hedrik

    People keep asking how the "big 3'got to this condition. Ask yourself what type of ads you've seen on tv lately, and in the past, from these companies. Compare this obsevation with the ads from the Japanese, Korean, and other car makers. What you see in the Big 3 is the advertising of their big trucks, and SUV's. Ford, for example, is still pushing the F-150, and F-250. They have a great car called the Focus, which, in 2005, was listed as one of the 3 most gas efficient cars in the world, non-hybrid class. When was the last time you saw an ad for the Focus? GM is still making huge gas guzzlers like the Hummer, Avalanch (basically an El Camino on steroids), for example. Chrysler is still advertising its Ram 1500 trucks, with Hemi V8 engines. I passed a used car lot today, with only a few cars. The rest of the 3 dozen or so vehicles on the lot, were pick ups, and a few mini vans. This sort of dinosaur thinking, combined with the choking effect of the UAW, are the root cause of the problems the Big 3 are having. Dinosaurs are extinct, and, unless the management of the Big 3 are brought into the 21st century, thowing more money into these companies will do no good, because these companies will also become extinct, along with all the jobs they provide.

    November 17, 2008 at 11:14 pm |
  13. Jacob Sicard

    I'm wondering why can't the American people get a "bail out plan". Lets say theres 400 million people, Why cant the government spread out 900 billion dollars to the american people, its our money and we want it when we need it!!!!!!!!!!!! 😉

    November 17, 2008 at 11:11 pm |
  14. Larry

    Pelosi, Dodd, Frank and Pritzker have a vested interest in stopping mortgage foreclosures and bailing out the big 3; a lot of big $$ came to the dems from the UAW.

    November 17, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  15. ralph woodfin

    If Bush can give 4 rounds of tax cuts of which the first cost 1.32 trillion dollars we can spare some money to save auto companies. The only reason republicans want to get rid of them is the unions. You know the ongoing war on organized labor. I'll bet if we add up the lost tax revenue it will add up to just about the amount our national debt has went up. Republicans call the tax losses government spending to go after other things they dislike. Social security is one of them.

    November 17, 2008 at 10:53 pm |
  16. Countrygal

    Why do the auto workers make so much money when the footage you show has robots doing the work? What exactly, do the CEO's do to earn their bonuses when the profits are in the toilet?

    November 17, 2008 at 10:52 pm |
  17. Tammy, Berwick. LA

    I think when businesses fail, those in charge need to look at why and make changes. Enabling them to continue on does nothing to help them grow and become better. If we keep bailing out those in trouble with money we don't have, eventually we're going to need bailing out ourselves. I'm sorry people will lose jobs. Maybe they need to retrain like a lot of other people have when businesses and industries crash. When the oil industry bottomed out in the 1980's, my parents changed gears and opened up a successful business. You do what you have to in order to change with the times. Uncle Sam (and we as taxpayers) aren't the nanny state ready to wipe up the messes of businesses who have screwed up for far too long. It's a shame out president elect hasn't figured that one out yet. I hope he learns before he finishes wiping us out financially with his need to give without thinking.

    November 17, 2008 at 10:47 pm |
  18. Joanne, Solvay, NY

    No! The 700B was intended to help those losing their homes! Are we to expect more big bonuses for the execs of the big three? This is outrageous!

    November 17, 2008 at 10:35 pm |