Rather than REQUIRE the industry to meet stricter emissions and fuel economy standards, and rather than let the industry fail BECAUSE THEY BUILD CRAPPY CARS THAT NOBODY WANTS, the AMERICAN answer is to GIVE THEM MONEY!
My money. Your money. The money the government takes from us that we could use to buy cars ourselves, if we still had that money in our pockets. Of course, we wouldn't be buying AMERICAN cars, because American cars are big, ugly, poorly-manufactured gas-guzzlers.
Is this how "free enterprise" works? Supply & Demand, free market, competition? All that stuff I learned in economics class no longer applies, it seems.
Giving money to the big corporations will NOT help the economy. It only helps the rich people at the top. Once they have the money, they have no incentive to make changes. No incentive to improve. No incentive to compete. Why should they even try if they already have the money?
As a teacher in a public elementary school in America, I'm beginning to wonder if, in order to better prepare students for the future, I should give the better grades to the lazy slacker kids, and lower the grades of those who work harder and achieve more.
Ford, GM, Chrysler, they are the largest companies in the world. They have been building automobiles for over a hundred years. They have NO EXCUSE for not building the best cars in the world, no excuse for not planning ahead, and no excuse for not being flexible enough and creative enough to bring the best products to the market and responding immediately to changing market demands.
But it's not about building cars. It's not about running a company for the long-term. It's not about providing a better product at a better price driven by market demand. It's not about "history." It's about immediate cash-in-the-pocket for the guys at the top. And when it comes to doing that, American business excels.
Yet again, I am ashamed to be an American.
Of course, it could be worse. I could be British. After years of a "nationalised" auto industry (read: subsidies), the Brits sold ROLLS-FREAKING-ROYCE to the Germans; and LAND ROVER and JAGUAR are owned by a company in India. Freaking India! Wasn't India a British colony? Kipling was right: "you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!"
Rolls-Royce in the hands of the Germans, and the American auto industry crushed by the Japanese. Fat lotta good all those bombs and all those deaths accomplished sixty years ago. Would the soldiers who risked (and lost) their lives for "freedom" have been so dedicated had they known that they were killing and dying in order to pad the pockets of a few executives? Meh, probably, because people are stupid.