Michigan Mayor: No Auto Bailout Will Mean Depression

Just give us the money and nobody gets hurt.

That was the warning from the mayor of Lansing, Mich., on CBS's "The Early Show" Dec. 2. "You know this is a sure prescription to go from recession to depression if you allow this auto industry, our manufacturing prowess, to fall by the wayside," Virg Bernero warned:

This industry is too important, not just to Lansing, Mich., but to the whole country. This is our manufacturing base. You know we were the arsenal of democracy. We've talked a lot about economic security, and that's number one, but what about national security? You know, we were the arsenal of democracy in World War II; it was the auto industry that helped turn us around. Can you imagine a country, I would ask, can you imagine America losing our manufacturing edge, not having that manufacturing prowess? That hurts our national security.

Bernero compared the possible auto bailout to the previous Chrysler bailout.

Look at the Chrysler aid package 30 years ago. That was a good investment for taxpayers. It was paid off early and in full and I believe this will be a prudent investment.

Bernero sparred with Fox Business Network's Neil Cavuto over the issue Nov. 16, arguing that not bailing out the auto industry was a "prescription for going from a recession to a depression."

Here is where your rigid capitalist ideology tumbles, because you are forcing our American auto companies to compete in non-capitalist, in a non-free market economy ... Our companies are competing against countries, they're not competing against other auto companies because they would be winning. The fact of the matter is Hyundai, and Toyota and Honda and those companies; they have immense support from their governments. But you and others like you in America, you want that line of demarcation between government and companies and that would be great if it were true in all the other countries.

Bernero continued to take shots at Cavuto:

I'm not here to tell you that the American auto companies didn't make mistakes. But those other auto companies made mistakes too. The difference is their governments are there subsidizing them, supporting them, providing healthcare, manipulating their currencies, and what we have here is pundits like you pulling the rug out from underneath them and kicking them in the shins.