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Romney Says Auto Industry Needs Total Makeover

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the son of a onetime GM president, takes to the op-ed pages of the New York Times today to voice his opposition to the proposed bailout of the automotive industry without some radical changes in the companies.

Romney, considered a potential aspirant for the White House in 2012, argues that in order to save the Big Three automakers, there will have to be changes in labor agreements, management and long-term investments in technology.

"It is not wrong to ask for government help," Romney writes, "but the automakers should come up with a win-win proposition. I believe the federal government should invest substantially more in basic research — on new energy sources, fuel-economy technology, materials science and the like — that will ultimately benefit the automotive industry, along with many others. I believe Washington should raise energy research spending to $20 billion a year, from the $4 billion that is spent today. The research could be done at universities, at research labs and even through public-private collaboration. The federal government should also rectify the imbedded tax penalties that favor foreign carmakers. But don't ask Washington to give shareholders and bondholders a free pass — they bet on management and they lost."

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