Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Majority Opposes Detroit Bailout

A new Washington Post poll finds a majority of Americans against the auto industry bailout:

Most Americans continue to oppose a government-backed rescue plan for Detroit's Big Three automakers as majorities blame the industry for its own problems and are unconvinced failure would hurt the economy, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Overall, 55 percent of those polled oppose the latest plan that Chrysler, Ford and General Motors executives pitched to Congress last week, on par with public opposition to earlier, pricier efforts. But with 42 percent support, the new request for up to $14 billion in emergency loans has more backers than previous proposals to secure up to $34 billion in loan guarantees.

But as with the earlier bids, those who strongly oppose the measure greatly outnumber those who are strongly supportive.

Opposition to the automaker bailout is fueled by the widespread perception that the companies themselves are responsible for their predicament, not the faltering economy. In the new poll, three-quarters of Americans said Detroit's woes are mainly the fault of its own management decisions, and a sizable majority of those who blame the front office object to government help.

Nor have Detroit's Big Three made significant progress persuading the public that bankruptcy proceedings would deepen the broader economic slowdown. Sixty percent said it would make no difference or would be good for the economy if one or more of the companies were forced to restructure under the protection of bankruptcy laws.

Democrats are among the most wary of the economic impact of failure, with 42 percent saying it would hurt the economy. They are more apt to advocate federal aid -- 52 percent support it, up from 42 percent support for previous versions of the rescue bill. But they, too, are deeply critical of company managers -- 72 percent fault Detroit's strategies, not the overall economy.

Republican opposition has grown stronger, with 69 percent now against the bailout, an increase of 12 points since chief executives from General Motors, Chrysler and Ford last appeared on Capitol Hill to plead their case. Half of all Republicans polled now strongly oppose the plan.

Overall, independents continue to lean against the plan, with 57 percent opposing it and 41 percent supporting it.
What do you think would happen if the Big Three were to go bankrupt?

Todd Zywicki suggests Washington would lose clout (forget "green" automotives). Or, perhaps unions might be more careful about their sky-high demands.

6 comments:

Philippe Ohlund said...

You're mentioned in my latest blog, Donald! :-)

I hope it's ok.

Rich Casebolt said...

Didn't we hear similar dire predictions, wailing and gnashing of teeth, when United and other airlines went through their financial troubles, up to and including Chapter 11?

We, and they, survived.

This situation is the product of a nexus of greed and short-term thinking, involving union bosses and Big Three management alike ... aided and abetted by a Congress more interested in pork and ideology than they are in pragmatic productivity.

I don't say this easily, as my father is a retired GM employee ... but perhaps it is time for a CTRL-ALT-DEL of the automakers, instead of a financial patch that will be followed by a takeover of the auto-industry "operating system" in order to promote the watermelon agenda of the party in power.

billm99uk said...

Not sure I can offer a solution, but the way the bailout is going at the moment, you're going to get an All-American version of British Leyland...

TRUTH 101 said...

You will notice that Ford has declined bailout money. I fully recommend everyone go buy a Ford as a thank you for being the best and strongest of the big three. My 300 shares of Ford stock are not relevant to this post. Thank you again for the forum Professor Douglas.

shoprat said...

This does not surprise me as even in Michigan there are a lot of people who want the industry to survive (obviously) but are not so sure that this is the best way to do it.

The Original David said...

Ooops. I think my comment on the redistribution post actually belongs here, but I won't double post.

@Rich:

"[W]atermelon agenda"? Nice turn of phrase. I'm counting on you to alert us when the Kool-Aid and fried chicken phases kick in.