Monday, June 1, 2009
Sayonara, GM - What Now?
Do we, as Michael Moore wrote this morning, now own 60% of General Motors? As shareholders, do we get a vote in its future?
I'm lining up squarely behind Moore - and no, it's no kneejerk reaction but a position I held before he articulated it so well.
We do not need another car company. Cars are the past. We've used and abused something that should have been an alternative to mass transit, not a replacement for it. This country needs to build for the future.
We used to cross the country by rail. Our fixation with the car ended that - now we just ship goods that way. Amtrak barely survived the past couple of decades and it's still far too expensive to be a realistic alternative to cars. That's got to change. Add more options, create competition and that price goes down.
Light rail and bullet trains can be built that are easier on the environment. And now we have the factories to build them.
Mr. President, retool those factories. Use the GM workers, workers whose future is currently so bleak, to build trains. Use unemployed construction workers to lay more track. Create a new infrastructure for the new millenium, a millenium that, so far, has been sucking out the last drop of blood from the prior one.
Instead of throwing money at corporations, invest in research to create the next generation of sustainable transportation. Retrain those workers. Perhaps even, (revolutionary thought) retrain truckers, whose industry was hit in the solar plexus by the fluctuation in gas prices, to maintain and operate those new trains. Reduce truck traffic, offer truckers a reliable new career, reduce pollution.
Propping up corporations which have no intention of retooling or revamping, which should be allowed to fail - which deserve to fail and which will ultimately fail because they are based upon an non-sustainable business model, is a waste of our money.
Spend it on our future.