Flirting with automobile nationalism


Jeff Sachs makes unpersuasive arguments for bailing out the Big Three in Detroit:

First, this is an opportunity to embark on a major industry restructuring to position the United States to lead the world in producing cars that get 100 miles or more per gallon. This achievement is closer than many suppose, with the pathbreaking plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt set to arrive in 2010 and several new hybrid models on the way. American-made fuel-cell cars may be a large-scale reality within a decade. Success would dramatically improve energy and national security, climate security, and U.S. global competitiveness, and a public-private partnership is needed to bring about this transformation.

Questions for Professor Sachs:

  • Why is it important that fuel-cell cars be made in America?
  • Why do American-made fuel-cell cars need to be produced at plants owned by domestic parent companies rather than foreign-owned US plants located outside Detroit?
  • What does “US global competitiveness” mean in this context?

Mark Koyama is harsher but puts it more succinctly: “Is this article by an economist?