But what if American consumers did not want to buy the "energy-efficient advanced technology vehicles" Congress wants American automakers to make?
Perhaps we would then need a federal car-buyers' czar to tell auto purchasers what they could purchase.
In a still-free market, the auto companies need to do three things: 1) Make cars people want to buy, 2) sell them at a price people want to pay and 3) keep overhead low enough to make a profit when they actually accomplish 1 and 2.
The bailout bill not only would have created a car czar who would advise the auto companies on what cars to make, but it also might have frozen in place some of the companies' heaviest overhead: their labor costs.
When the bill that passed the House arrived in the Senate, Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee presented an alternative that would have dramatically reduced the automakers' overhead and put them in position to compete again with foreign automakers. Two of its main components were: 1) getting the automakers' creditors to reduce the automakers' debt by two-thirds, and 2) getting the UAW to agree to accept wage and benefit "parity" with American workers employed by foreign automakers who manufacture cars here in the United States.
In the end, the UAW refused.
UAW members are not the only Americans at risk of losing their jobs today. But if the auto-industry bailout envisioned by the UAW comes to pass, Americans who make less money than UAW members do, or who take pay cuts to save their own jobs, or who later on lose their jobs in businesses Congress does not bailout, will be forced to temporarily subsidize inflated wages and benefits for members of a union that is sealing the doom of a great American industry.