GM, Ford Need Tough Love Not Taxpayer Handouts

Welfare at any level is socialism, argues John Hargenrader in this oped.

Published: 28-Sep-2006

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, is co-sponsor of a bill to put $20 billion of taxpayer money up for grabs for automakers under the misleading guise of promoting green technology. The only green this type of program will fuel is green ink for automakers, at the expense of red ink for federal taxpayers.

Welfare at any level is socialism. If Rogers believes in fair trade and capitalism, he will recognize that many automakers sell vehicles that consumers find fuel efficient enough for their needs.

Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. were short-sighted on the need for fuel efficiency. True capitalism rewards those who are clever, and punishes those who are lazy. Right now, GM and Ford need tough love, not welfare.

As an auto engineer, I personally sat down with Mike Rogers four years ago and tried to discuss CAFE standards, and the need to promote fuel efficiency. At that time, the Republican Congress and Detroit's automakers were not on the bandwagon. Now, they are both reacting too late.

Mike said in the article ( "Rogers aims to boost 'green technologies,' in auto world," Sept. 21), "It allows us to innovate our way out of the problem." This statement is misleading, as it presupposes that fuel-efficient vehicles are many years away, rather than being available from other automakers today.

Americans are voting on fuel efficiency with their pocketbooks. It should not take corporate welfare to make Ford and GM wise up. If they are that slow at learning, let the wiser automakers win.

Companies like Honda Motor Co. deserve to benefit from the sales driven by high fuel prices and the products they decided to offer. This type of corporate welfare interferes with the market share reward Honda earned by good product planning.

I own five Fords right now and have half of my IRA invested in Ford stock. I would prefer as an owner and shareholder that Ford react to the market rather than Washington.

Please, Mike, don't interfere with my investment and consumer voice. That is wholesale un-Republican.

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