Compared to Wall Street Bailouts, $30B to GM Is Small Change

Auto workers deserve our help as much as bankers.

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By John Aloysius Farrell, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

I wish that the vaunted titans of American finance and industry had not screwed up so badly.    

I don't like spending money to bail out inept CEOs and corporate greedheads.

And it's certainly regrettable that my own beloved newspaper industry was no good match for a federal handout.

But once one has accepted the logic that decided action by the federal government is needed to save the U.S. from a rerun of the Great Depression (as was accepted by leaders of both political parties last fall), I don't see much difference in loaning my tax money to General Motors, as opposed to loaning it to Goldman, Sachs or AIG or Fannie Mae.

Are not auto workers as deserving of our intervention as financial analysts, bankers, or mortgage salesmen?

Isn't the American auto industry—with all its dealers, factories, and parts makers and suppliers—an important element of the U.S. economy? Would not its collapse hurt us all, by sending us deeper into the downturn?

Isn't an industrial base and a trained industrial workforce a good thing to have when we're fighting two wars and playing policeman to the world?

Don't we want an America that still makes stuff?

Aren't there an increasing number of promising economic indicators that say the Bernanke-Geithner-Obama strategy is working? Anybody look at the stock market recently?

Compared with what we've given to Wall Street, $30 billion for GM is small change.

Sure, there is a risk. But if we win we win big.

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