A Bailout Solution

Auto industry executives, from left, General Motors Chief Executive Officer Richard Wagoner; Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Robert Nardelli; and Ford Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally, testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Big Three strike out on the Hill. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The Big 3 domestic automobile manufacturers struck out with Congress on their first attempt at a $25 billion bailout. Not much doubt that they will be back for more at-bats in the coming weeks. Too many jobs at stake and too powerful of a D.C. lobby.

Maybe, just maybe, Congress will condition a bailout to expedite a shift to higher gas mileage cars.  Maybe with local Rep. Henry Waxman as the new chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, there can be a trade of moving the 35 mpg CAFE standards from 2020 to 2015 as part of the deal. That would be a deal worth making.

If Congress can’t come up with a bailout that benefits the environment, then I have a different solution.

Why doesn’t Big Oil bail out the Big 3?  After all, Big Oil is swimming in record profits.  Exxon-Mobil’s profits in the last two quarters exceed the $25 billion bailout request. Bailing out the Big 3 can only help Big Oil in the long run.  After all, car owners are their biggest customers.

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