Morning Bell: No ‘Change’ Coming to Corporate Bailout Parade

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According to reports, ailing U.S. automakers are already lobbying the Obama transition camp for a taxpayer-financed bailout, and they’ve turned up the dial on doom and gloom in recent weeks to make government action appeal all the more pressing. General Motors, for one, says it will run out of cash around the end of the year unless something big happens — like an immediate economic rebound that boosts sales of its autos (unlikely) or a major infusion of government money.

These efforts are showing signs of success. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson over the weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) urged government intervention, professing herself “convinced that our nation’s automobile industry — the heart of our manufacturing sector — and the jobs of tens of thousands of Americans are at risk.” On Sunday, incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel called the auto industry “an essential part of our economy and an essential part of our industrial base” and said the Obama administration would explore “different options” to save it.

An administration truly committed to “change” ought to consider this option: bankruptcy. It’s not the end of the industry, but a new beginning. Here’s why:

The incoming administration can deliver this dollop of change today: Take the bailout option off the table once and for all and let Detroit get itself working again.

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