GM, Ford And Chrysler Heading For Massive Car Crash

The heads of the Big Three automakers of Detroit pleaded on Tuesday for emergency government aid to stave off potential collapse, but largely it appears met with stoney resistance and little sympathy.

Senate Democratic leaders said they had not been able to muster the support for legislation that would provide $25 billion to the troubled auto industry from the Treasury Department's $700 billion economic rescue fund.

The executives from General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler seemed stunned by the general lack of confidence that lawmakers showed in their companies.

"We have little evidence that $25 billion will do anything to promote long-term success," said Senator Michael Enzi, Republican of Wyoming.

The chief executives of GM and Chrysler said their companies were using up their cash at a rate that could leave them close to insolvency by the end of the year.

GM's chairman, Rick Wagoner, said: "the societal costs (of a Big Three failure) would be catastrophic — three million jobs lost within the first year, U.S. personal income reduced by $150 billion and a government tax loss of more than $156 billion over three years."

Despite the urgent tone of the executives, lawmakers in both parties saw little chance that a bailout could be put together and passed during the current lame-duck session. The Bush administration has steadfastly refused requests by Democratic leaders to tap into the financial rescue program to aid the automakers.

This has the look of an express train out of control to me, I think the speed of the demise of the Big Three from here on in will shock the world.