What my Detroit Bailout would look like

I’ve been thinking about the auto industry quite a bit lately, as I suppose everyone has been. Some are arguing a for a loan or bailout of the “big three” some are opposed. I have a third way that I believe could revitalize Detroit, create jobs, and solve part of America’s energy crisis.

 

Some are saying that it’s not the government’s job to “choose winners” in this or any economic climate. In many ways I agree, however, the government is charged with defending the nation’s key interests. The use of oil, foreign and domestic is a threat to our economy, our climate, and our national security. It needs to be eradicated for the country to thrive through the 21st century and beyond.

 

Therefore, whatever loan/bailout solution that we come up with for Detroit cannot just be a bridge loan, or some amount of funding contingent upon if they curb executive pay and raise fuel standards 5 miles per gallon within 10 years. This is a crisis and we need a serious solution. Sadly, our national automakers have not been on the leading edge of innovation when it comes to alternative fuels. Thankfully today we live in a global economy, and there are companies that have been.

 

My bailout would come in several steps:

 

  1. License at a handsome profit Honda’s hydrogen fuel cell technology, it’s solar cell to hydrogen technology and it’s at-home hydrogen extraction technology at a handsome profit to the automaker and engineering company that not only has led the way on how to propel their cars, but on how to develop that propellant in clean and sustainable ways.

 

  1. Having licensed this technology, the government, in cooperation with private investors oil companies (that own gas stations), and the big three deploy hydrogen refueling stations across the country to existing gas stations, making the alternative fuel a real possibility for American consumers.

 

  1. Fund Ford, GM, and Chrysler as they retool and rebuild their line to meet the new hydrogen fuel standard. Don’t take deadline extensions for answer. 4 years to build a completely new line of cars.

 

 

  1. In return for this massive cash infusion, the American automakers must be willing to accept high-yield trade-ins of existing automobiles. This technology does us no good if people continue to drive their gasoline powered vehicles. Our national automakers must do their part and make their new line affordable to Americans by accepting their older automobiles as a high asking price (say 50% of original asking) these cars should then be dismantled and recycled back into the material pool.

 

It’s beyond my level of expertise to know what this program would cost, how to fund it, and what the realistic timelines would be. But I do know the country needs to find a new way forward when it comes to automobiles. I also know that the auto industry needs to reset and rebuild. I’m sure other measures such as labor contracts, parts and service contracting and supply chains would need to be hammered out. But my plan is simple, direct and justifies the costs with reasonable expectations from all parties involved. It’s my idea, I hope it’s of some use. 

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