Pardon Me, But Could You Spare $10 Billion?

Jeff Siegel
updated | Author's Website

So GM (NYSE:GM) has asked the U.S. government to pony up $10 billion for a rescue package.

I tell ya, I wish I could get a “rescue package” every time I hit a rut because I made a bad business decision.

Listen, I get that jobs and local economies would be decimated if GM went under. But can we just take a step back for a moment, and evaluate this?

These bloated suits at GM sat in their sterile boardrooms in Detroit for decades forcing gas guzzlers down our throats, refusing to offer vehicles with better fuel economy. The result has essentially been a financial backlash that could’ve been avoided had arrogance not been the basis of their decision-making processes all those years. So now, while it’s clear that monster SUVs are no longer acceptable in a post-peak world, we’re supposed to shell out $10 billion of our money so they can stay in business?

Ok, fine!

Here’s the deal the government. should offer.

Give GM the $10 billion with two conditions:

  1. The auto-maker has three years to retool its facilities to produce nothing but fuel efficient vehicles with a minimum fuel economy requirement of 60 miles per gallon. Don’t care how they do it. Whether its with hybrid, plug-in hybrids, lightweight materials, better aerodynamics, etc., not a single vehicle coming out of those factories should be inefficient. And no exceptions either. If your SUV can’t deliver it, then you can’t sell it. I guarantee you, the market will find a contender that’ll deliver that kind of fuel economy if GM can’t. Don’t kid yourself on that one.
  2. Every penny of that $10 billion will be paid back to the tax payer.

When I threw this idea out to my colleagues, they laughed at the 60 mpg minimum. But this is not a laughing matter, and 60 mpg is not out of the question. Not when we’re already seeing small start-ups pumping out all-electric sport utility trucks and sports cars delivering between 100 to 230 miles on one electric charge. Not when high school students at the 2008 Eco-marathon build a combustion-engine vehicle that can get 2,843 mpg. Yes, you read that correctly – 2,843 mpg. And definitely not when we continue to send billions overseas to continue our dangerous reliance on oil.

Listen, there can be no more excuses. These auto makers need to get their acts together now. Enough with the lobbying efforts, enough with the complacency, enough with the handouts!

And by the way, since we’ll require GM to produce nothing but 60 mpg vehicles, we should make this a mandatory requirement for all auto-makers. You want to do business in this country? Fine. Do it by our rules. They’ll have no choice. Without the U.S., hardly any of these auto-makers could survive. It’s time we start making demands instead of excuses!

To a new way of life, and a new generation of wealth…

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