When thinking about the prospects of some kind of bailout for US automakers, it’s important to understand that problems in the car industry are, at the moment, worldwide. Toyota, the biggest and most successful firm in the business, is looking at taking a huge hit. Under the circumstances, the outlook for Detroit’s embattled firms looks even worse. They’re not, in other words, one quick fix from viability — they’re the sick men of an industry that’s in big overall trouble. Simply put, much more capacity exists to make new cars than there is demand to buy new cars. Propping up failing manufacturers isn’t going to solve any broader economic problems. Helping the people or even the geographical areas affected by the liquidation of the weakest car firms would be a reasonable course of action.
But trying to help them by helping the firms themselves is going to be costlier and ultimately slower in terms of putting people in a sustainable situation.