Monday, January 26, 2009

Cashing the Reality Check

Like a lot of people, I sat awestruck in front of the TV as executives of the Big Three automakers asked the government for a bailout. To their shock and surprise, no one seemed to want to buy expensive, gas-guzzling behemoths any more—hadn’t, in fact, for the past few years, although maybe the execs had only just noticed it—and now profits were a thing of the past, layoffs loomed large—oh, and don’t forget, those corporate jets didn’t run on coal.

The Big Three took a lot of heat from the press and public, and deservedly so. Now the long knives are out for Harley-Davidson—and some of them are being pointed at Milwaukee from an unlikely direction.

On January 16, Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA) approached the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation about a bailout for Harley.

As you'd expect, the request has its proponents.

But if you think Harley riders themselves are unanimously in favor of a bailout, think again.

It's a tough choice. If you pump money into a foundering company, all you're doing is rewarding bad business practices. But if you let it fail, it's the workers who pay the price.

What do you think?

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