At first blush, I love it, though if I’d probably make it a sliding-scale subsidy proportional to gallons saved and conditional on maintaining retiree health benefits as opposed to a fixed amount triggered by meeting specific targets.
The health costs aren’t going to go away; if the companies go broke and stop paying them, the government (and other employers) will pick them up one way or another, through Medicare, Medicaid, or unreimbursed-care accounts. And the automakers’ pension overhang is also a huge threat to the solvency of the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation. So just letting them go broke probably isn’t really an option in the first place.
If we have to bail them out, might as well get something for it. Given how badly they’re doing, we’re in a position to demand quite a lot.
From a partisan viewpoint, getting the enviros and the industrial unions on the same side is sheer brilliance.
I guess what I hear is true: Obama isn’t just another pretty face. Now I’m just waiting for him to take revenge on McCain, so we’ll know he’s tough enough for the Presidency.