I have mixed feelings about the failure of the bailout of the auto industry. On the one hand, it never made sense to me to give the money to the folks who have failed so dismally to build a modern auto industry. I worry that their reach in the economy is so great, though, that if they fail, the economy will plummet even lower, into a full-blown depression (if we're not in one already). Plus, when I hear Republicans who so vehemently opposed the bailout say that it would save unions, not people, I wonder if they have a clue what they're saying. Are union jobs not real jobs? Do union members not pay taxes? Has Republican dislike of unions turned into reflexively blind hatred? Is an industry too moronic to save itself being denied help by a Congress too dunderheaded to understand the consequences? Are we talking dumb and dumber here? Then again, congressional Republicans are finally ignoring their president. That in itself may be a positive sign. If only they'd done that from the start maybe we wouldn't be in this mess.
The Big Three is back before Congress, hats (with much smaller head sizes) in hand. This time, they handled the symbolic stuff a tad bit better. Instead of flying in three separate corporate jets, they drove, although they haven't gotten the hang of carpooling yet. And they all agreed to cut their hefty salaries. We don't know about bonuses or stock options. And this time, they have plans to downsize their industries, to make them more efficient, and to redesign their fleets for more fuel economy. That they came up with these plans in only two weeks is a miracle, given their inability to answer basic questions about their strategies for saving their businesses the last time they came begging. Somehow, I can't quite envision the same self-satisfied dinosaurs who presided over the years-long decline of the American auto industry being up to the task of evolving it quickly enough to make a difference now.
The continuing economic problems and unexpected increases in the cost of construction materials are playing havoc with RTD's plans for developing an expanded regional transportation system. The projected budget for FasTracks has exploded to the point that it's no longer possible to build the system as it was originally proposed. The unpalatable choices are to try to raise another tax to pay for the bloated budget, to extend the time frame well past the original estimates, or to cut back the system. More bike paths, anyone?