Nov. 14, 2006: CNN Money—Democrats May Put Big Three in Driver’s Seat

Summary: "The Big Three automakers finally get their day with President Bush Tuesday – and their meeting couldn’t be more well timed. The CEOs of GM and Ford Motor Co. and the head of DaimlerChrysler’s Chrysler Group head to Washington with more leverage now that Democrats won control of Congress in last week’s mid-term elections, industry experts and officials said.

The executives have a long list of issues where they want government help, but they won’t be asking for bailouts or loan guarantees, even as they struggle with huge losses that have led GM and Ford to slash 55,000 hourly workers in North America.

Instead the meeting, which was postponed by the White House twice over the last 14 months, is to deal with issues ranging from health care and international trade, to alternative fuel cars and light trucks."

So government-sponsored health care is good for business? Who knew. If the idea got out, we might end up with a modern, single-payer system. Like they have in those other countries whose automakers are now whupping Big Three axle.

Trade is of course on the table—no doubt the domestic automakers will want to lift tariffs on steel and raise them on Asian-badged cars. That might be tricky, considering that many "foreign" cars are now made (assembled, anyway) in the USA.

But watch as the Big Three try to push ethanol instead of hybrid technology as their energy-policy golden ticket. And don’t touch those CAFE standards! If a Michigan Democrat chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, real change in efficiency isn’t likely to be mandated any time soon.

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