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Auto Industry Bailout
A Ford plug-in hybrid Edge cruises on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 17, 2007.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

A Ford plug-in hybrid Edge cruises on Capitol Hill, Jan. 17, 2007. (AP)

The American auto industry is on its knees, with its hand out.

GM, Ford, and Chrysler want a bailout now, and they want it fast. They’re hemorrhaging cash. GM says it will be unable to pay its bills by the end of the year. That’s six weeks from now.

The flailing Big Three have asked for many billions from the federal government. Congress appears sympathetic. But should Detroit be bailed out? Or allowed to go bust, and rebuild on new terms?

How much of the U.S. economy can or should the U.S. government float?

This hour, On Point: Dire straits. Should Washington bail out Detroit?

You can join the conversation. What do you say? Yea or nay? And why? Can we afford to bail out Detroit? Can we afford not to? Does it make sense?

Guests:

Micheline Maynard, business reporter for The New York Times. Her article on the front page of this morning’s Times is “G.M.’s Troubles Stir Question of Bankruptcy vs. a Bailout.” She’s been blogging about her personal switch to a new hybrid car at NYTimes.com’s “Green Inc.”

Matthew Slaughter, associate dean and professor of international economics at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business.

Susan Helper, professor of economics at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University and research affiliate for the International Motor Vehicle Program at MIT.

More Links:

The Wall Street Journal examines the politics of the bailout debate. For a scathing indictment of Detroit’s way of doing business, see Thomas Friedman’s column in yesterday’s New York Times. Meanwhile, David Greising at The Chicago Tribune opines that Detroit deserves a piece of the bailout action.

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