Help the Aged

I first became interested in economics through reading John Kenneth Galbraith, one of whose great insights was that the strongest advocates of state aid in hard times were the big corporations who, in good times, were the strongest opponents of ‘big government’. Well, here we go again.

A leading General Motors executive has called for government loans of up to $50bn to help American car markers build more fuel-efficient cars.

Bob Lutz, GM’s vice-chairman, warned that major US car manufacturers need the money to re-tool their factories and are unlikely to be able to raise enough capital alone due to tight credit markets.

Mr Lutz’s comments come against background of ongoing talks between leading US car makers and politicians in recent weeks over enhanced government backing to enable a shift to greener production.

The three major US car manufacturers, GM, Ford and Chrysler, are working with the United Automobile Workers union to lobby Congress for a further $3.75bn on top of the $25bn in loans authorised for the industry last year…

This is the crowd who’ve been gleefully making and marketing SUVs — and investing accordingly — instead of paying attention to the looming crisis in oil costs and global warming.