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The Un-American Auto Companies

The Detroit Three CEOs are rolling back into Washington, with their hands out again. Apparently, the lesson they learned from their disastrous appearance last month was to ask for even more of taxpayers’ money. According to this morning’s Washington Post, the Detroit Three will ask for a combined total $28-38 Billion.

And they’re still trying to blame the recession for their woes. GM “acknowledges that it has made mistakes in the past” but insists that it “would not require Government assistance were it not for the dramatic collapse of the U.S. economy”.

Not so fast. Foreign auto companies are facing up to the economic situation on their own four wheels.

Why can’t U.S. companies do the same? The less agile American companies have responded more slowly to changes in consumer demands. Having kowtowed to the ridiculous demands of union bosses, their pay-and-benefit scales are absurdly high. In other words, they got sloppy, and now they expect the American taxpayers to clean up their mess.

To squander taxpayers’ money bailing these three out would be disastrous. It is a national shame that sloppiness has replaced American ingenuity. That in a nation built by hard-working farmers, union bosses can demand “job banks” that mean that employees continue to reap paychecks even when they’re not working. That the sense of entitlement has grown so pervasive that huge corporations think it’s okay to bilk middle-class taxpayers.

American auto companies are behaving in a way that is profoundly un-American, that offends the principles on which this nation was founded, that douses spirit with which it was built. Sloppiness has replaced ingenuity. “Job banks” have replaced the work ethic. And ersatz entitlement has replaced accountability.

“What’s good for GM is good for America” is an old cliche that’s been much recycled lately. And it’s true. What’s good for GM, and for America, is ingenuity, hard work, and responsibility. When the Detroit Three rekindle those virtues, they, and America, will be on the road to recovery.

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