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Auto Bailout Anger: Everyone Should Just Chill Out

Big 3 Bailout
CNBC.com
Big 3 Bailout

Before we go any further, let me just say this: Chill out!!!!!!!!!!

The rhetoric, comments, and overall tenor of what I'm hearing from people who are for or against an auto industry bailout has gone over the top. Sunday, as I'm walking through the hardware store, a guy stops me and says, "F%&€ 'em! Those lazy S.O.B.'s in Detroit shouldn't get a dime."

Not to be outdone, I have heard from supporters of the auto bailout who basically have said, "Anybody who doesn't want to give the Big 3 a loan is an un-American jerk."

Welcome to my world.

It's easy to see why everyone has become so emotional about this. We've all bought, driven, loved, and hated our cars. They are benchmarks by which we measure our lives. Most of us will never forget:

• Our first car (for me, a rusted out Honda Civic)

• The car we'd cruise around in high school (in my case it was Glenn's Freezemobile with a heater that didn't work)

• The car we road tripped in during College (Brett's ant infested Buick)

• The car we drove home from the hospital with our first child (perhaps the only time my wife saw me drive 5 mph with two hands on the steering wheel).

With the film strip of our lives playing out as we buy, sell, curse, and embrace our cars, it's no wonder we are passionate about what we want to see happen to the Big 3. But here's the problem: few of us seem willing to accept the other side is saying stuff that may have some merits.

The UAW bashers (oh I hear you everyday) say the union is the problem because it refuses to change and help make the Big 3 more competitive. Here's a little reality check: A big reason why GM, Ford and Chrysler are far more efficient and build higher quality cars is because the UAW has worked hard in recent years to make both happen.

And for you Big 3 bailout supporters who say those against you getting a loan are unpatriotic, wake up and smell the coffee. Those opposed to the bailout are rightfully worried Detroit won't get its act together after it gets billions of dollars. The track record among the Big 3 is one of incremental change and right now, GM, Ford, and Chrysler need major restructurings. As a result, there are many around the country who, understandably, fear that they are throwing good bad after bad.

    • Bush Administration Gets Close to Auto Bailout Deal

In the next couple of days the White House will throw Detroit a lifeline. Let's hope the Big 3 use it to pull themselves out of this incredibly deep hole, and eventually repay the bridge loans. That's one thing we can all agree on.

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Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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