On Bailout Opinions

04Dec08

car-show

After a superb meal with my girlfriend’s family this Thanksgiving, several family members were discussing the most recent bailout proposal for the auto industry. Some were for it, others were against it, but the reasons for each position varied from person to person. However, What struck me most was the following statement:

“I can tell you exactly what needs to be done to fix the auto industry. They need…”

This is a sentence I can’t imagine I would’ve heard from an average person regarding the bank bailouts, but it seems to be commonplace when talking about Detroit. Everyone from family members to Congresspeople seem to “know” exactly where the auto industry went wrong and how it should fix itself.

My question is, why is this the case? If people feel entitled to an executive-level opinion through their experience of owning a car, then why do they not feel the same way by owning a bank account? Is it the abstraction of a bank account compared to a real asset like a truck? Or could it be the transferred feeling of stewardship to the bank, hoping they “look after my money”, compared to a personal sense of stewardship for one’s own car?

My money’s on a hybrid of those two forces, but I’d like to know if anyone else has any thoughts on the subject.

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