Automakers said Monday that they were working toward President Obama's goal of reducing fuel consumption, but rapid imposition of stricter emissions standards could force them to drastically cut production of larger, more profitable vehicles, adding to their financial duress. Mr. Obama ordered the government on Monday to reconsider whether California and other states could regulate vehicle emissions to help control greenhouse gas emissions, a reversal of a position taken by the Bush administration. The announcement came as General Motors and Chrysler are borrowing billions of dollars from the government to avoid bankruptcy, and as Toyota prepares to report its first operating loss in 70 years. Shortly after the president spoke, General Motors said it would cut 2,000 jobs at plants in Michigan and Ohio because of slow sales. The California regulations, if enacted today, "would basically kill the industry," said David E. Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, an independent research organization in Ann Arbor, Mich. "It would have a devastating effect on everybody, and not just the domestics." But Mr. Cole said he thought major modifications to the proposed standards were likely and that action was still "a long ways off," giving the carmakers more time to overcome their financial problems and develop the technologies needed to sell a full lineup of compliant vehicles. Right now, carmakers say they would be able to sell only their smallest, most fuel-efficient cars -- models like the Toyota Prius, a hybrid whose sales have fallen sharply since gas prices began dropping last fall -- because once-popular vehicles like pickup trucks made by Ford and G.M. are not efficient enough.Of course, to Democrats, there is an obvious solution to all of this -- support their union allies by allowing them to loot the Big 3, support their environmental extremist allies with these new emissions standards, and then keep the whole sorry mess afloat with tens of billions in tax payer dollars. Then, nobody but the taxpayers get screwed, but with the help of their allies in the media, they'll figure out some way to blame that on Republicans. Don't laugh -- that's a viable strategy -- at least it will be if Republicans don't smarten up, call them out on what they're doing, and refuse to spend one more dime of the American public's money to prop up the Democrats' union allies. John Hawkins is a professional blogger who runs Conservative Grapevine, Right Wing News, and Right Wing Video.
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