Detroit automakers have been falling behind for decades and it has little to do with the unions. They hyped new models so effectively that people used to dress up to go to the showrooms each October. Retooling just to change the angle of a tailfin makes little sense. That's why you can't tell what year a Japanese vehicle was made, they find a design that works and stick with it.
Speaking of the Japanese, Detroit laughed when that little island started cranking out small, efficient cars that last for decades. While "ricegrinders" continued to improve fuel economy, US autos took a step backward.
Lee Iacocca gained the respect of ordinary Americans when he paid the US Government back ahead of schedule. Remember how he did it? He put a mini-van on a truck frame to get around CAFE standards. He used soccer moms while the spirit of the law was to benefit family farmers. The other two companies followed his lead and that brought us the SUV boom.
Should we help them retool? Nope, if retooling makes sense venture capitalists will take up the slack. What about the defense of the nation? Well, this country is fighting two wars right now without the help of the Big Three so that argument needs to go out the window.
The fall of the auto industry will surely affect the rest of the nation, like a wave it will sink some boats in Michigan but lose energy by the time it reaches the coasts. When firearms came about, sword makers went out of business. It's the way of the world, adapt or die.
Even if they agree to give every member of Congress a Hummer, our representatives should tell them, "Too bad, so sad."