Alex Taylor III is a senior editor at Fortune Magazine, who has spent the better part of his career covering the automotive industry. Over the years he has seen a lot of changes at GM — but not the kind that were needed to save the company.
The story of General Motors since the 1960s is a tale of accelerating irrelevance. Customer preferences changed, competition tightened, technology made big leaps, and GM was always driving a lap behind.
Should the government bail GM out of its financial tailspin?
If Washington wants to bail out GM, it’s fine with me. A lot of short-term angst will be avoided, and taxpayer money has been spent for worse purposes. But you have to wonder whether the insular, self-absorbed culture that still dominates GM is up to the job of restructuring the company quickly enough to make it profitable and competitive again. GM has been on a downward path ever since I began covering it. What is going to make it different this time?
Cal Thomas, on why a federal bailout for the big three automakers is a bad idea:
The argument made by those favoring a bailout of Detroit is that it will save more than 100,000 jobs in the auto and related industries. But what good does that do if people are not buying cars in sufficient numbers to allow the Big Three to make a profit? This becomes the kind of corporate welfare Democrats decry when it comes to Wall Street. But, then, Wall Street isn’t unionized and Democrats want and need the union vote.
A free market is a powerful shaper of ingenuity — if the government will get out of the way and let it operate.
John Staddon is a Duke University professor who spends a lot of time as a guest professor in Britain, too. His experiences driving on either side of the Atlantic have given him a unique perspective on how the two countries regulate driving. He comes to a startling conclusion:
U.S. traffic policies are inducing a form of inattentional blindness in American drivers. When so many drivers say, after an accident, “I didn’t see him,” they’re not all lying.