Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Bailing Out the Auto Industry

I was in the middle of reading yet another article on the auto industry bailout when I realized something really interesting: I genuinely haven’t made up my mind yet. It seems like such a quaint idea that I was actually reading all this stuff and getting swayed from one side to the other, still unable to make up my mind on what move I think is right. On one side you’ve got folks arguing that whether you believe in what they’ve been up to or not, the eventual net effect on the economy of not bailing them out will be greater than the cost. Further supporting just how far this ripple effect could go, when I picked up AdAge from my mailbox this evening the cover page outlines just what roll Detroit plays in the ad industry: 3.3% of total US measured spending, 5.9% of US network TV spending, etc. (For the record, the most interesting and compelling argument I’ve read so far comes on this side as Jonathan Cohn argues in the New Republic that a) they may be forced into Chapter 7 not Chapter 11 and b) that the auto industry has actually already begun going down the right path and they just need some more time to get there.)

On the other side you’ve got people saying that they must be allowed to fail and that, “if GM is going to be a welfare agency, it’s hard to also expect it to be a viable company that will rapidly get off the federal teat.”

Anyway, I still haven’t come to a conclusion, but I’m having a lot of fun being one of those undecideds so many of us spent the last year debating about.

November 18, 2008