The auto bailout is a blood transfusion for a dying patient

David Leonhardt has a good article in the New York Times explaining why the “Big 3 Automakers” have higher labor costs than Honda, Toyota, et. al.  Greater fringe benefits play part of it, and the cost of retirees make up a big chuck as well  – which is why most private employers are moving to defined contribution/401(k) retirement plans.

He also points out that these higher costs are not the only problem for the Big 3: the fact that no one wants to buy their cars is a major obstacle. 

While he seems to favor a bailout, he also recognizes it is not a fix to the Big 3’s troubles, more like a blood transfusion for a dying patient (my metaphor).  That is, he thinks taxpayers should bailout out the Big 3 now, while the economy is bad, but let them fail or restructurer later, when the economy is better, not that that makes much sense to me.