Who would be affected by the closing of the American automakers? Surely, not us? Let's take a look...
A large number of industries would be hard hit by the ripple. Parts suppliers, dealerships, after-market producers, steel companies, shipping & freight - trains, ships and trucking - advertising agencies, accounting firms, legal services, vending machines and food service, paper goods, paint manufacturers, and glass producing companies would lose the largest source of their business and many would close and/or lay off employees.
Unemployed people do not travel, shop or go out to eat, so tourism, retail establishments and restaurants will close, causing more unemployment. The closing of these businesses will affect their suppliers as well, including, but not limited to suppliers of glassware, food, linens, luggage, souvenirs, gifts, groceries, cameras, camping supplies, sporting goods and guide services. Museums and other attractions will close.
How much energy will the closed plants utilize? Electricity, gas, phone and water = $0. The projected income for utility companies will be drastically reduced and they, too, will lay off employees. Costs for consumers may be raised to make up the loss. Winter is nearly upon us. The timing could not be worse.
Unemployed workers can take advantage of the proposed national health care. No, wait. If so few workers are paying income tax, national health care cannot be funded. Affordable housing will swamp the market as the unemployed lose their homes to foreclosure. What a great time to buy a home, if only one had a job and an income. The children of the unemployed will qualify for tuition assistance, but again, the lack of funding through taxes will dry up education funds overnight.
Can the unemployed afford cable TV, internet access, cell phones, movie tickets, newspapers, books, games, toys, sports equipment, tools, remodeling supplies or services?
The ripple will go from national to global when the US stops importing goods. Whether or not the industry caused some of its problems, it's hard to make a case for punishing the automakers when the ripples of that penalty will have worldwide implications to millions of innocent people.
President-elect Obama is working with other legislators, to approve loans to the automakers. Let us hope he succeeds, or the ripples won't be stopped.