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Pondering an Auto Industry Bailout

November 12, 2008
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The automotive industry already wasn’t in great shape when the price of oil went through the roof. Then gas prices escalated dramatically and people stopped buying gas-guzzlers, and things got really ugly. Now that gas is at a reasonable level, the economy is tanked and no one wants to buy much of anything, certainly not big-ticket items. The Detroit Three (Ford, Chrysler and GM) can’t seem to get a break-so they’re asking the government for one.

On one hand, it seems reasonable that if demand isn’t sufficient to support the industry, the industry should change. Unfortunately, the effect of an automotive industry collapse would be catastrophic for the entire country. Even if just one of the Big Three goes under, direct job losses alone would be monumental.

Many of the ceramic and related industries rely heavily on the automotive market, directly or indirectly. Whether it’s glass, electronics or refractories (fewer cars means less steel), we need a strong automotive industry in many of our manufacturing sectors.

So what do you think? Is a bailout plan for the automotive industry a prudent strategy? Please share your views by posting a comment below.

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