Back when everyone was discussing whether or not we should bail out the automakers, some folks were suggesting that saving the Big Three could help Detroit transition into a hub for the production of green technologies. I tended to point out that the Big Three had often fought against policies that would encourage green innovation, so saving the automakers would maintain a major institutional barrier to a Midwestern economic renaissance.
Similarly, folks like Matt Yglesias pointed out that if we were going to hand over a bunch of money to failing automakers, we should at least require that they not continue to fight against green policies. This was pretty sensible. Not only would such a provision have been a decent pro quo for the taxpayers’ quid, it would also help us avoid an embarrassing situation in which Detroit uses taxpayer money to fight green policies that would benefit taxpayers.