#1. Breaking the Unions who normally vote for and support Democrats
#2. Bringing jobs to the Red States at the expense of the Blue States
The real reason that there is a debate about whether the US Government should save the largest single entity in the US business world is that the Republican party wants to win back the White House in 2012 and doesn't care how they do it.
If the Big 3 are helped by the Federal government, 3 million jobs may be saved and many billions of dollars will be saved in pension costs, lost tax revenue, lost income, lower GDP.
Why would the Republicans do this? Because the European and Asian car companies will fill the void and build plants in the "right to work" states of the South. There are already many Honda, Toyota and BMW plants in the Southern states and if the Big 3 go out of business, there will be at least a doubling of foreign car plants in the Red States. So who cares, as long as the cars are made here? We have to care, because when GM, Ford or Chrysler make a profit, the profit stays here, but when Honda, Toyota and BMW, or any other European or Asian car company makes a profit, the profit leaves the country. It is the same thing as buying a TV at a Wal-Mart that was made in China or buying gasoline at a Mobil station that was refined into gasoline after being pumped from the desert of Saudi Arabia.
The other thing that will be accomplished is that the UAW will effectively be broken. The UAW supports the Democratic Party with contributions and also turns out the vote. Take away all the jobs in the Blue States that depend on the Big 3 and UAW workers, and cripple the parts and materials suppliers, and the Democrats will suffer in 2012. The Blue States will lose jobs, population, Congressman and electoral votes as the population and tax base shifts to the Bible Belt.
It is a mean spirited thing that the Republicans are doing, but what may be even more mean spirited is what the so-called "Blue Dog Democrats" are doing. The Republicans are putting party and state before country, but the "Blue Dog Democrats" are pitting state against state, and their states before country or party. The "Blue Dog Democrats" are selling out the Big 3 workers and the people who live in the states where the Big 3 manufacture cars and in the states that supply raw materials and parts to the Big 3 in order to bring European and Asian car manufacturing plants to their Southern states. As an excuse, they will use the poor business practices of the Big 3, the greed of the UAW and the laziness of the UAW workers, but all they really care about is getting re-elected because they will be able to claim that they brought jobs to their states, although the majority of money brought in by the plants in their states will leave for foreign shores.
We must save the Big 3. Strings can be attached to the tax-payer's money to safeguard the principal. But the Big 3 must not be allowed to go bankrupt. Republicans and "Blue Dog Democrats" will argue that it is about principle, but it is really about common sense and principal. The economy of the USA will not be able to withstand the loss of principal that the Big 3 going out of business will cause.