Saving Detroit

December 4, 2008 at 9:01 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I’ve heard a lot of radio talk and read some web discussions about the US auto industry bailout proposals.  Michael Moore put up a Daily Kos post about it today.  Excerpt:

Let me just state the obvious: Every single dollar Congress gives these three companies will be flushed right down the toilet. There is nothing the management teams of the Big 3 are going to do to convince people to go out during a recession and buy their big, gas-guzzling, inferior products. Just forget it. And, as sure as I am that the Ford family-owned Detroit Lions are not going to the Super Bowl — ever — I can guarantee you, after they burn through this $34 billion, they’ll be back for another $34 billion next summer.

Still, Moore is naturally concerned about all the jobs at stake.  He argues the government should buy GM and the others — that it isn’t worth loaning GM $25 billion because they could buy all the common shares for $3 billion.  Hard to argue with that, although people will try.

I’m sentimental about Detroit’s incredible legacy in the same way I’m sentimental about a lot of other aspects of disappearing Americana.  But it also strikes me that we are a little out of control in our selfishness about perpetuating our driving behavior in this day and age.  Other vanishing aspects of our life such as the North and South Poles, Western Alaska coastal villages, polar bears and other wildlife deserve some respect and attention, too.

I’ve been bike commuting for almost two years now, but I also have four cars [three of them American].  I’ve cut my annual driving mileage way back, so if I stick with it these cars ought to last a long time. 

Bicycles have come a long way.  There are cargo carrying bikes out there, bikes with fat balloon tires that roll right through snow, bike tires with 300 studs each, and really good lights, clothing and accessories.  To anyone in reasonable physical condition it’s completely doable, and even a lot of fun and fitness-inducing.  You just have to lose all of the excuses you’re fronting for not trying.


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