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The Automobile Industry’s Plea and the Appropriate Counteroffer

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From the Wall Street Journal this morning (subscription required):

As their woes mount, America’s two big auto makers are making it clear they don’t want or expect a bailout from Washington and instead have crafted a call for help that focuses on measures that could provide more limited assistance.

Among specific areas where Detroit is seeking federal support: restraining health-care costs, promoting new fuel technologies and keeping exchange rates in line. To strengthen their case, General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers are couching their appeals as measures that would benefit all American manufacturers at a time when U.S. industry is coming under increasing pressure from globalization.

Michigan’s Democratic Senators Levin and Stabenow will no doubt lead the charge for a bailout.

And the GOP leadership would be wise to hear them out, and counter with an offer contingent on the opening of ANWR to exploration, making the tax cuts permanent, and a new agreement on judicial nominations.

Though the automobile industry has plants operating throughout the country, its home is Detroit, and its senators are Levin and Stabenow. If those two want help for their state’s backbone industry, they ought to be prepared to help all of American industry in the process.


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