Hey, can I ride in your car, car? Well, if you wanna ride in something like this, bro, you better hurry up. They ain't gonna be making more of these things . . . not in the U.S., for sure.
I just heard on NPR that White House and Congress have agreed on a $15 billion bridge loan to the auto industry and, incidentally, keep Detroit, the heartbeat city of the U.S. automobile manufacturing sector, temporarily afloat. It's not clear exactly what conditions are going to be laid on these people, but this much is sure: the Detroit automakers will have to pay dearly for the privilege of using our money to bail out their sorry asses. Strict oversight for one thing. Broad restructuring for another. And maybe a stake in the companies for taxpayers and a seat at the boardroom table for the UAW. Mind you, this is a House bill. It still must pass the Senate, where there's strong opposition. Sixty votes there is doubtful.
Paul Krugman, in Sweden to receive his Nobel Prize in Economics, intimates that it's all going for naught eventually. "Geographical forces" are going to scatter the industry, he says. Another writer says that there are no obstacles in the bill to keep Detroit from spending bailout money on its overseas operations! I don't know anything about this, but Krugman is smarter than I am about these things. But what I do know is ever since the Congress agreed to put $700 billion in Hank Paulson's mitts, we have not heard the first success story to go along with the continuous litany of failure. So basically, it looks like we're going to throw a lot more serious money down an expanding, sucking maw that's beginning to resemble a black hole.
On second thought, maybe I don't want to ride in your car car at all.