General Motors is begging for a bailout, and Barack Obama and his transition team are asking the Bush administration and Congress to supply it. Tom Friedman says any such move should be accompanied by lots of conditions, including throwing out the execs and making the company produce climate-friendly cars.
Here's another idea: Let the company go bankrupt, and use the money instead to give all 266,000 worldwide employees a one-year severance pay package. Assuming that the average pay is about $50,000 per year (probably an overestimate on the international scale), this would come to about $13 billion, much less than the minimum $25 billion the company and Obama are asking for.
Once the government has taken G.M.'s facilities into receivership, it can sell them cheap to investors willing to start a new automobile company dedicated to making fuel efficient, environmentally friendly cars.