No Spendi. What I'm suggesting is that the current business model doesn't work and adding more government money and control is unlikely to improve it. I didn't suggest $10 an hour peeps would be better; I suggested that it's unfair to tax them to prop up jobs that pay more.
By and large; I don't have a problem with high salaries or Private Jets for people whose time is worth more than the added expense either… but that doesn't mean it isn't stupid to use them on your way to beg for financial help.
The difference between Auto worker compensation packages and typical packages for similar jobs is substantial enough that the companies wouldn't be in this shape without them. This distributes the guilt between the parties who demanded more than the company could pay; and the management who agreed to it. A contract that cannot be sustained on its own merit shouldn't be subsidized.
I too speculate that larger investment in R&D for more efficient and alternative fuel vehicles would have been a good idea. But this is speculation. (That Ford manufactures a CNG version of the "Ford Focus", but doesn't sell it in the United States I personally find obscene... but I can rationalize they probably thoroughly researched the decision.) The incredible burdens of bloated labor contracts, on the other hand, are a matter of fact.
Off the top of my head, and I'm not married to any of these thoughts, I'm thinking maybe it should go something like this:
Each company seeking help this substantial should be examined separately and placed into receivership. Next, it should be determined what percentage of obligations the company could pay if it were allowed to go under. Accordingly, shares in the company should be divided allowing the indebted to either continue to gamble on the company's success or cash out.
By now; there has to be some pretty accurate information on the costs of training employees for various positions. This cost should be converted to a reasonable premium or "X-Factor" to cover the extra value of current employees based on their company history, training and proven value. From there; most jobs should be bid down in a reverse auction, allowing all qualified potential employees to bid... but with a built in preference given to current employees via the X-factor (basically, deduct X-factor from their bids). The final 24 hours of bidding should be restricted to current employees only, which should, theoretically, allow most current employees to keep their jobs at something reasonably higher than the market value for same. Yes, this would probably still mean a substantial pay cut, but most should realize it's a better deal than they'd be likely to get on the free market if the company were allowed to go under. Let them make their own decisions.
All employees should be encouraged to disregard the Union in their bidding, for failure to do so would likely result in losing their jobs. Tough luck. A contract with a failed business has no value at all (beyond the aforementioned percentage share each would be entitled to according to what the company is actually worth and what it's current obligation to the employee is.)
The "Bailout" should be structured as an investment that is backed by an ownership percentage share of the company's newly minted stock. This would allow the United States to first provide the necessary cash to put this company in high gear, then to recoup it's investment by unloading the stock. This way we will, in effect, avoid nationalizing the auto industry, which would be the surest way, IMO, to insure that it would never become profitable again.
The receivership should seek a new acting CEO with an impeccable resume and a willingness to work for a percentage of profits
. Every employee from top to bottom should receive a portion of their pay package as a share of profits. An escalating formula should be developed for those higher up that structures pay packages increasingly on performance... taking both performance comparisons to their peers and overall profits into account.
To the extent many Americans believe the auto-makers should be forced to work on more efficient and/or alternative vehicles, I agree... but NOT directly. I do not object to gas taxes or "gas guzzler taxes" or incentive programs via tax breaks (or even research grants) to bring about this behavior; but I object to direct intervention because I don't believe bureaucrats are qualified to run the industry.