I say give everyone who needs one in America a car. Tell 'em it's free.
It will be free, sort of. Like that $300 George Bush gave us a few years back. My plan -- and I have to admit I still have some wrinkles to iron out -- is to push for the government to help the auto industry by clearing its inventory, preserve jobs and further stimulate the economy. Are you listening yet?
The plan would work something like this:
Instead of directly giving General Motors or Chrysler more money, we would (read the government) provide credits to consumers that would enable those who need transportation to take a vehicle off the hands of one of the struggling automakers for little or nothing depending on their respective need.
This way, we save jobs, prevent more families from sinking into poverty and keep plants from closing, decimating communities in the process.
I pass by the Chrysler Jefferson North Plant nearly every day on the way to or from work. The parking lot there is a barometer of the economy. I can tell by the number of SUVs and other vehicles in that lot how the economy is doing. It has been packed for the past few months and nearly full during the plant's shutdown, when no vehicles were actually being built.
I heard a long time ago that it's more cost effective for automakers to keep plants open than to shutter them, because they had to pay workers open or closed, and as long as the assembly lines were moving at least they had a product they could sell -- albeit with profit-cutting incentives.
So just give everybody a car already. That way they would have to pay for vehicle registrations, plates, insurance, air fresheners, CDs, iPods, seat cushions, cups for cup holders, DVDs for DVD players, car washes, oil changes, brake jobs, collision repairs, garage repairs, tires and tire rims (thanks Michigan potholes!). Think of all of the people employed as a result? Oh yeah, and the manufacturers could continue paying workers to produce more cars and trucks people actually want once inventories are depleted. Are you with me yet?!