Bustup Not Bailout

Bustup not bailout should be our rallying cry. Once upon a time busting up big companies was a populist movement. Its time for that movement to rise up again. Not so much to rid our society of monopolies but to rid our society of financial minefields that are ‘too big to fail’. I read a quote on twitter yesterday that said ‘too big to fail means too big to exist’.

And yet the govt’s answer to our problems is to push for more consolidation. Its nutty. Scale and complexity is the enemy of innovation and what ails most of the large businesses in this country, auto in particular, is a structural lack of innovation in the industry architecture

It takes something like 5 years to get a new car designed and built in most large auto companies. That’s too long. I realize that designing and building a new car platform is not like hacking up a new web app. But five years? C’mon. We have to do better than that

And we need to completely neuter the auto industry’s ability to lobby our govt to stop important initiatives like clean/alt+energy and mass transit. Its borderline criminal what the auto industry’s political efforts have done to our global competitive position right now

The same is true of the financial services business, the airline business, electric utilities, and a host of other industries

I am sympathetic to the arguments that we cannot allow the entire supply chain of the auto industry fail and I am certainly aware how many plants will close and jobs will be lost if we let GM, Chrysler, and Ford fail. Its a tough call and Obama has already staked out a pro bailout auto position

So I hope someone in his incoming team reads this and the conversations on this topic that went on via twitter yesterday. If we give taxpayer money to the auto business, it should be to finance a wholesale bustup of the business. One PE firm should buy Volt. Another should buy Buick. A third should buy Jeep. A fourth should buy Lincoln. And if a brand can’t find a buyer at any price with a boatload of taxpayer money behind it then it should fail

This is the best way out of this mess. We have to get the biggest businesses in this country smaller and nimbler, we have to get smart money behind them, builders not spreadsheet pushers, and we must focus on innovation not lobbying. That’s the only way forward that makes sense short of throwing them all under the bus and starting over

Note: I wrote this on the eliptical trainer at the gym so no links and prob some typos. I’ll try to fix both later

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