18 November 2008

On Bailing Out Detroit

There’s wisdom in the familiar line “It’s hard to drain a swamp when you’re up to your ass in alligators”, but then, that’s precisely when some leadership is needed.

Currently, there's no doubt that the American economy is swamped with alligators. It’s also clear that essentially all of our so-called leaders in industry, congress, and the administration are up to their asses in economic alligators. Essentially all of these leaders, however, seem most intent on protecting their asses, apparently having forgotten about the need to drain the swamp.

In particular, in the case of the American automotive industry, the swamp is polluted with foreign oil, the cost of which (controlled by the OPEC cartel) is drowning our economy. Meanwhile, because of our sick economic conditions and the sick leadership in our automotive industry, American car manufacturers are begging for financial bailouts. And unfortunately, politicians (most intent on protecting jobs so that they’ll have a better chance of being re-elected) may bail out Detroit, leaving the rest of the country in an oily swamp filled with alligators.

Isn’t there at least one leader among them who would say the obvious and who would start draining the swamp?

Obviously what’s needed is a Manhattan-style project to redefine, redesign, and retool our entire automotive industry, to drain our country’s dependence on foreign oil.

Don’t bail out Detroit; rebuild it.

As a country, let’s set the achievable goal that, in five years, not a single automobile rolling-off American assembly lines will be powered by petroleum products and, instead, will be powered by batteries, natural gas, liquefied coal and oil shale, and even hydrogen. Simultaneously, we’ll need to build an infrastructure to dispense the alternative fuels and a sufficient number of nuclear reactors to supply the additional electricity (to charge the batteries, liquefy the coal and oil shale, and produce hydrogen).

And I’d add that, for those few Americans unwilling to trade-in their gas-guzzlers for vehicles running on alternative fuels, then to show them that there's no hard feelings, we could offer to trade them their Bibles for copies of the Koran.