I wish President-elect Obama, and all of us for that matter, good luck. One study states
that Massachusetts' unemployment rate will rise from 5.5% now to well
over 8% in Q3 2010. With the US unemployment rate currently at 6.5%
and the broadest measure of Un/Underemployment, aka U6, at over 11%, Q3 2010 will be an unpleasant place for US workers.
Looks like the best policy is a massive increase in federal government spending on public infrastructure, energy conservation (someone has to install energy efficient windows and insulate homes), aid to states and localities, a health care system that covers everyone (oh say single payer), etc.
Krugman thinks that $600 billion of deficit spending is enough. If the auto industry goes into bankruptcy, I can see needing much more than that, likely even if they don't, what with the rate at which the economy is falling.
That said, I am not convinced that bailing out the big three automakers is a good idea, at least not without getting rid of upper management. After all, these are the same folks who got themselves into this mess. When the bailout is four time the market cap of the big three, perhaps the US government should just buy them. Heck, the UAW and AFL-CIO might have enough in their strike funds to buy a good chunk of them. 51% and the unions get to call the shots and really make upper management's heads roll.