Pile Up

Since I’m not paid to watch CSPAN, I really have no clue what’s happening in the hearings on an auto industry bailout other than its prospects were dimming, and that verily, the Big Three CEOs all flying separately on private jets probably wasn’t the right message to send. Anyway, if some sort of bailout does go forward — I’m a fan of some sort of government assured Chapter 11 — an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle irons out a few good provisions.

If Washington is going to give yet another loan-guarantee bailout to Detroit automakers, then the price should include requiring the car manufacturers to drop their four-year-long legal assault against global warming laws in California and three other states (Vermont, Rhode Island and New Mexico), as well as a requirement to develop and deliver hybrids, clean diesels and other highly fuel-efficient vehicles.

Indeed, if the Big Three intend to argue that their future security aligns with the public good, they should be happy to adopt other measures that also align with the public good. Further, it’s important that any provisions focus on these sorts of realignments rather than moralizing executive pay. The salaries of CEOs are not the cause of Detroit’s maladies.

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