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Alex Massie on the bailout:

The perception that GM and Ford and Chrysler build crappy cars is just another obstacle to recovery. And of course it's a perception that, even if out of date, is predicated upon the bitter memories of the crap cars they really did build. Turns out it takes a while for that perception to fade. One more reason why you shouldn't crap on your own brand. So the current crisis, driven by poor management and stupid unions, is also built upon the junk they spent years selling to gullible consumers taken in by the faux-patriotism of "Buying American".

That's one thing the "Car Czar" can't fix:  the perception that the company apparently needs nearly unlimited access to government funds in order to prop up its failing operations is hardly going to restore America's faith that its automakers make good cars.

On the other hand, maybe people will buy them just to stop the tax drain.  If they're going to take the money one way or another, you might as well get a car out of it.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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