It's interesting to watch car commercials these days. Before, you'd have those male-targeted auto commercials with the fancy navigation systems and bells and whistles and heavy guitar music that would make any car-loving guy have a wet dream right then and there. You still do see some of these commercials to a certain extent, but now I've noticed that we see a lot more car ads that are basically saying, "Please, please, PLEASE, won't you just buy a new car? I'll give you free gas. I'll throw in a GPS. I'll give you 0% financing for 72 months. Just please please, please, PLEASE, buy a car from us!!!"
A few months back, when this whole Big Three US automaker bailout stuff started making the media rounds, I was a reluctant supporter. It was, as I saw it, a necessary evil. One of those too-many-jobs-riding-on-it situations where failure of the auto companies would just be disastrous.
Then I started wondering...aren't we just supporting a bad habit? Think about it. The auto industry is built on the expectation that we will be tossing out our perfectly-fine automobiles for the latest, greatest, technologically fanciest cars out there. Do we REALLY need to buy new cars as often as we do? No! And now that the economy is in a state of total crap, consumers are waking up and realizing that their cars, while they are not the latest model in the latest fad color with the latest space-age exterior and fancy leather interior are good enough for getting them from Point A to Point B.
Up until now, our North American hunger to buy buy buy has been feeding the Big Automobile Monster. The more we craved, the more it produced. And now with this craptacular economy, the automakers are crying because we just don't want to fork out $20,000-$40,000 for a new car. Well, tough toenails, tootsie. The fact of the matter is that at the rate we're going, this planet is headed straight to hell, and we may very well reach a point of no return very very soon. The auto industry is a major contributor to this, given all of the toxic crap that's spewed into the air from car exhaust, not to mention those oh-so-lovely greenhouse gases that are sending the Earth's climate into a tailspin. The auto industry needs to realize that its days of producing disposable, gasoline-hogging steel monsters are numbered. If that means that we let the auto industry as we know it die so that a newer, greener auto industry can emerge in its place, then so be it. Think of this economic downturn as being analogous to the meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs. Tragic as it was, it probably paved the way for humans to roam the Earth. (Unless you're one of those Creationist idiots who still doesn't believe in Evolution, and that dinosaurs and humans roamed the Earth at the same time. Then there's no hope for you. Just crawl under a rock and wait for the Day of Reckoning.)
So no, I'm not in favor of an auto bailout. Let the industry perish. I know that it sounds completely cruel, because so many people are employed by it. My solution is to use the money that would otherwise have been used to bail out the Big Three US automakers, and to re-train assembly line autoworkers to learn a new trade, or to send them off to college or university if they want. And the rest of the money should be used to create a new, green, nationalized auto industry which would be focused on greener, longer-lasting automobiles. See? Problem solved!