Of the Big 3, GM appears to be the likeliest to fail, and Ford is the strongest, having borrowed a huge amount of money before the credit markets closed down. Chrysler is the hardest one to read, since it's a private company owned by Cerberus Capital Management. Of course, it's not clear that any of them will actually declare bankruptcy; GM's management still shuns the use of the word.
From everything I can see, legislators and their constituents who are opposed to a bailout believe some or all of the following:
- The automakers don't deserve the money because their senior managers are incompetent, or because the union jobs that would be preserved pay so much more than what many other workers make
- The automakers would waste the money
- The automakers will soon be back with demands for more money
- The banking bailout has turned out to be much less effective than originally advertised, so why should be believe that an auto industry bailout would be any different?
- The ripple effects of one or more bankruptcies won't be as bad as the companies and their supporters are saying
- The companies can survive bankruptcy, and will emerge stronger and more competitive
So everyone now waits as the Congress and automakers play a dangerous game of "Chicken."