Save Detroit?

As The White House saves Detroit's auto industry, should it save it's newspapers too?
Where is Herbert Hoover when we need him

By Walter Brooks

Detroit Newspapers to Cut Home Delivery, reduce newsstand size

The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News are planning to stop homedelivery most days of the week and print a pared-down version of theirpapers for newsstands on those days, according to people briefed on theplans. They will be the first major dailies in the country to take suchdrastic steps.
    The papers will deliver to subscribers only on the most profitable daysof the week — Sunday, and either Thursday or Friday or both, said thesepeople, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were notauthorized to discuss the changes and the decisions were not final. Onother days, they will still print slimmer single-copy editions. Thechanges will be accompanied by staff cuts, these people said.
    Newspapers across the country are besieged by falling revenue, but thepapers in Detroit, home of the struggling auto industry, faceparticularly grim prospects in the next year... NY Times.

In today's New York Times there is a curious coincidence - the newspaper reports the approaching death of both of Detroit's daily newspapers alongside the imminent demise of its big three automobile companies (see inset on right).

This raises the obvious question: Should either or both be saved by taxpayer money?

In our not-so humble opinion, the answer is no.

The White House and Congress might as well have tried to save the buggy whip business when automobiles changed the way we transported ourselves (see buggy whip definition below).

Money doesn't solve Detroit's problem

We are not against taxpayer money being loaned to save viable businesses when the economy is this bad.

But we are against futile efforts to save companies which build products people no longer want to buy. Keeping Detroit's Big Three in business for a few moree months won't address the problem.

I haven't owned an American-built car since 1970. I know many conservative, Republican, "Buy American" zealots who have also stopped buying Detroit's products.

That's the problem.

A $14 or even $34 billion dollar bailout is a futile gesture and doomed to failure. If the Big Three auto companies could not compete BEFORE this recession, how will taxpayer money help them sell their products now - especially when buyers think they may go bankrupt?

We might as well give money to Detroit's two daily newspapers too - and how about bringing back the buggy whip industry?

I bet a few billion dollars would keep those anachronisms afloat for a few months too.

Inertia, indifference and drift

No one ever before endorsed President Herbert Hoover's reactions to the U.S. economy after the stock market crash of 1929.

For three years Hoover did absolutely nothing, and it took a decade of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal to get the economy moving and the start of World War II to make it strong again.

As a lifelong Liberal and Democrat, I find it strange to be urging Hoover's policy in this case, but inertia, indifference and drift has been Detroit's business plan for thirty years, and it should be Washington's plan for the Big Three today.

Noun1.buggy whipbuggy whip - a horsewhip once used by a driver of a buggy; "since buggies havebeen replaced by cars the buggy whip has become a symbol for anythingthat is hopelessly outmoded"

 

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