The Detroit 3 are pushing hard for $50 billion in low interest loans to keep factories running, build new ones and create alternative powertrains. Presidential candidate Barak Obama has already endorsed $50 billion in loans and Republican nominee John McCain has signed on for $25 billion in loans already guaranteed in the 2007 energy bill. If Ralph Nader were elected to office (won't happen), he would be against such a loan. Nader told a group of supporters in the Detroit area that "tax payers should not be played for a sucker," and that decades of bad decisions by automakers means that no such government assistance is deserved.

GM spokesman Greg Martin countered that Nader was basically a non-entity in the big picture, pointing out that the loan would help quickly get more fuel efficient vehicles on the road. U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg from Michigan remarked that Detroit automakers could be paying 15-20% in interest rates without the government loan, which would be pegged at 4-5%. We're not experts on the subject, but we're pretty sure a loan with a 20% interest rate is a bad idea, and it's not the kind of rate you want to pay if you're competing against Toyota.

[Source: The Detroit News, Photo by Alex Wong/Getty]

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