I have not yet seen one good comprehensive reason why taxpayers should bail out the big 3 automakers.
These are giant, decades old corporations who have no clue how to go about their core businesses. That isn't the sort of corporation that you hand money to. I saw Sen. Carl Levin on Meet the Press this weekend and frankly I don't know how Tom Brokaw didn't laugh in his face when he tried to make the case that Detroit is being innovative.
Not only are Japanese carmakers ahead of Detroit, they've lapped them several times. This has little do with unions, frankly, and everything with a corporate culture that can't see 10 minutes into the future let alone years.
These companies lumbered into the tar pits. Unless they pull themselves out they don't deserve to be given yet another stay of execution. While the immediate impact may be a disproportionately hard one to the economy, in the long term we're all far better served to let them die and be replaced by a more innovative American auto industry, nostalgia be damned.
My guess is that the airline industry is among the next with a hat out after they experience a week holiday travel season.
They deserve even less aid than the automakers.