Motor City Meltdown (Thomas Palley)

by Chris Sturr | November 26, 2008

Thomas Palley’s latest policy op-ed.

The financial crisis that began in 2007 has been persistently marked by muddled thinking and haphazard policymaking. Now, the United States Treasury is headed for a mistake of historic and catastrophic proportions by refusing to bail out America’s Big Three automakers.

Make no mistake, if Detroit’s Big Three go bankrupt, the perfect storm really will have arrived with a collapse in both the real economy and the financial sector. This threat means that the financial bailout funds authorized by Congress can legitimately be used to support the automakers. Treasury’s refusal to do so is a monumental blunder that risks a general meltdown, the consequences of which will extend far beyond America’s shores.

Proponents of a bailout for the Big Three have emphasized the enormous job losses associated with a bankruptcy scenario, including not only jobs directly provided by the automakers, but also jobs with parts suppliers, auto dealers, and in the transport and advertising industries.

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