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Big Three: Give Congress A Reason To Buy Bailout—And Fast

AP

It wasn't a car wreck, but it sure wasn't pretty. For two hours Tuesday afternoon senators grilled the CEOs of the Big 3 about why they should get a $25 Billion loan from the Federal government. To say law makers are skeptical about whether it makes sense to help out Detroit would be an understatement.

The Big 3 and the UAW have failed to sell Congress on why they should help the auto industry. Some of you may be saying, "Sell? When tens of thousands of jobs are on the line and thousands pensions and retirement accounts are in jeopardy of being gutted, nobody should have to be sold!" True. In this case, however, Congress needs a reason to buy into a bailout at a time when lawmakers are fighting bailout fatigue.

It's not enough to tell Congress jobs will be lost.
It's not enough to say the auto industry and suppliers are on the verge of collapsing.
It's not enough to warn lawmakers that the economy could take a big hit.

Detroit needs to be blunt and explain the importance in human terms. Need an example? I have heard executives in Detroit talk about small suppliers who are going out of business because the auto industry has come to a screeching halt. Tell us about these companies. Show Congress the small business man being driven out of business. In other words: Drive it home.

I still believe the Big 3 can get this bailout. Yes, it will be close, but it is something that can happen. Detroit's power brokers need to do a better job working this. Time is ticking. If the CEOs can pull this off, they better get moving.

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