As long as the feds are restructuring auto companies, why not drag them into the 21st century?
The New Republic has an interesting article up from two bona fide experts on the auto industry (who are not employed by the industry), contributing to a discussion where ideas have been plentiful but expertise lacking. They recommend a bailout road map that stops short of Chapter 11 but involves fairly substantial restructuring. Interesting reading, but I have nits to pick with this:
The government could set one final set of goals, not so much to address a lingering failure but to advance an important social goal: fighting climate change. Each company seeking funds could commit itself to exceed, by at least twenty percent, the recently passed Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirement of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. This requirement could be made contingent on the passage of a broader climate change bill that effectively kept gas prices high, to make sure consumers actually want such vehicles.
First, fighting climate change is an economic goal, not *$^! philanthropy.
Second, the 2020 CAFE goal is laughably modest, even if you tack on 20 percent. We don’t need incremental improvement, we need a quantum leap. As long as the feds have the companies by the short hairs, why not force them to switch over to hybrids and plug-in hybrids (or tri-brids that can accept biofuel)? Now that would be restructuring.