Auto industry should show responsibility, accountability before receiving bailout

For probably the first time, and I hope not the last, I agree with Barack Obama about using taxpayer’s money.

According to a Nov. 24 Detroit Free Press article, the president-elect said in a press conference the same day that Congress was right in not giving in to the Big 3 automakers in Detroit because they did not have a definite plan for the $25 billion in taxpayer money they were seeking.

“I think Congress did the right thing, which is to say you guys need to come up with a plan and come back before you’re getting any taxpayer money,” Obama said during the conference.

The automakers, who came to the bailout hearings on their private jets, were criticized by members of Congress for not coming up with a plan to fix their troubled companies sooner.

“I need to be convinced that if you get the $25 billion that it will actually make a difference,” said Rep. Jeb Hensarling, of Texas, according to a Nov. 19 article in The New York Times.

Two months ago, I was assigned a five-page paper for a media ethics class that was due before Thanksgiving. Part of getting a passing grade for the paper required getting four interviews.

By last Friday, I only had one interview. If I didn’t step up and get the other three interviews taken care of, I would fail the paper and endanger my grade.

Not a good idea anytime, but especially not a good idea when my graduation is less than a month away.

As much trouble as I was in, I knew better than asking my teacher for more time or to allow fewer interviews.

I knew what he would say: “You’ve had two months to work on it.”

Sure, I didn’t spend those two months grazing on cereal and watching reruns of “Bewitched” (OK, one night I did), but I knew well enough that getting good interviews would take time. If I received a failing grade because of not doing such, it would be solely my fault.

Sadly, America’s automakers aren’t indicating so far that they have learned their lesson. And as cold and heartless as it may sound, I’m inclined to agree with Congress.

I’m not very knowledgeable about how any business works, and most of what I know about the auto bailout is what I found on Web searches researching this article.

Whatever the blame may be – whether it’s unions, bad business strategies or whatever – the main problem seems to be that the automakers weren’t wise enough to fix the problem before it broke.

What I do know is that this is all too indicative of an attitude in this country that everyone else owes us a living.

This situation is just one of a number of recent cases that you can pick to illustrate that all some Americans want is just to take and take some more. The only thing they seem not to want to take is responsibility when the time calls for it.

The United States of America was built by the hands of men and women who sacrificed their time, their resources and their lives to make this country what it is today. An attitude that the government is supposed to indulge our every whim flies straight in the face of this.

I pray that we haven’t forgotten the immortal words of one Democrat named John F. Kennedy: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

Until the Big 3 automakers, and all Americans stop asking from our country and our government, and start being responsible, my pessimism will not abate.

Valerie Hannon is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Allen.