Buy their cars, or they’ll take your money

Yesterday the House of Representatives passed the UAW Bailout, setting up the new subsidies for General Motors and Cerberus Capital Management to be the second Bush-Pelosi bailout.

As the line goes, you won’ by their cars, so they’ll take your money anyway (h/t Boing Boing, The Beast, and Smart PEI.

the_detroit_bailout

There are two lines of argument I have read for the UAW Bailout. One is essentially Keynesian, and argues in these bad economic times, buildnig a giant pit and hiding money in it would be a good move, so building cars no one wants is no worse. There’s some truth in this. The other line of argument is that Detroit is the ‘backbone of our economy,’ ‘the American Dream is an American car,’ etc. This is an argument-from-nostalgia, and as such relies on the biases of those who remember their childhood but no one else’s. Thus, we should subsidize Detroit because it was a big-deal in the lives of suburban children of the 1950s, but not national light rail, because that was someone else’s childhood.

This attempt to recreate the Eisenhower years by recreating the Eisenhower economy is stuck in the past. To drive to the future, Detroit needs to fail.