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There are a lot of things I wish I could write about this week, but with more and more headlines every day warning about the crash of the U.S. auto industry, nothing else seems to matter much. A few weeks ago, when I was writing about the demise of Sterling Trucks, I asked what nameplate would be the next to go. We may have an answer to that: according to the news stories I've been reading all week, General Motors may cease to exist by the end of the year. Think about that: Chevrolet, Buick, Pontiac, GMC, Cadillac, Saab, Saturn, Hummer, Vauxhall, Opel and Holden could all go the way of the dodo. And if GM fails, what's to stop Chrysler and Ford from failing as well? You can argue that that may be a good and fitting end to an industry that has willfully ignored reality since the first world oil crisis of the early '70s, or you can argue that the federal government has no choice but to bail out Ford, Chrysler and GM. Personally, I can't decide. I have no problem with punishing the corporations, the CEOs and the boards of directors for their greed and their abysmally poor business decisions, but I do have a problem with punishing their thousands of employees whose only crime was to want a fair wage for an honest day's work. Ultimately, I think the government will attempt to bail out the big three, not just out of sympathy to the auto industry but because if there are far fewer new cars being built and sold, then there will be far fewer cars being driven and demand for gasoline and diesel fuel will dry up, and the price of a barrel of oil will plummet. And we all know that can never be allowed to happen...

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