Boeing thrives without the US having universal healthcare. As does Apple, Microsoft, WalMart, HP, Motorola, etc.. It is only because of mismanagement that GM, Ford and Chrysler are hobbled by crippling healthcare costs.
These bailouts are crony capitalism at its worst. Profitable companies in the US get no special treatment from the government, only badly managed auto companies qualify for the preferential bailout paid for by taxpayers (who also don't have universal healthcare).
The US military provides subsidies to Boeing. They've got a lock on a huge market. Look at the stink when the Pentagon went with Airbus for the tanker. Boeing doesn't even HAVE a tanker, yet a stink was raised. So don't use Boeing as an example.
You can't use Microsoft. They are a de facto monopoly. And monopolies simply don't follow the normal rules of capitalism.
Apple survived courtesy of fanatical fans, not because they had products worth owning. Were it not for the iMac and iPod they'd be long gone. Think back at how close to closing up shop Apple was. It is the huge profits computer companies make that allows them to make mistake after mistake with little punishment. That and the incidental cost of starting a new product, which is trivial. Build a badly designed computer, minor cost. Build a bad platform, you're out 4 years or more and a LOT of money. Plus, the chip makers talk to the software vendors ALL the time. You think OPEC calls up GM to warn them about future oil production numbers?
I can go into a long diatribe about software and hardware. I've been in the industry more than 30 years. It sucks. The software sucks. The hardware sucks. It was better in the 80s than it is now. Today, what we have is horrendous. Sure, the computers are faster but all that does is hide how atrocious everything running on said hardware is. Do I think the iPod sucks? Yes. And I own 4 of them. But they're the best that's out there. Like the Mac. I have one on my desktop. I use it because it's a Unix machine. The sad part is, it's the same Unix I used 25+ years ago! Sure, it's got pretty colours and graphics, but underneath it's the same. And it sucks at being a computer hooked up to a network. Unix wasn't designed to do that, and it seriously shows. But we keep adding layer upon layer of suckitude only to wonder why everything's getting worse.
And I do wonder why you think ONLY the auto industry qualifies. What about the banks (repeatedly), Wall Street (repeatedly), the US airlines, and I'm sure there are a lot of others. Didn't Lockheed get a bailout back in the 70s?
If we throw in government subsidies and preferential contracts (which are anti capitalism) you see a lot of bailouts masquerading as something else. What about subsidies for sugar farmers in the US? Those make little sense, especially since a subsidy is nothing more than an ongoing bailout.
If you look deep enough, what you find is the US bails out just about everything -- except the auto industry. And yet, the auto industry is both the most visible, the most maligned, and the largest employer in the US. Remember, just because it's not called a bailout doesn't mean it isn't the same thing. Ongoing subsidies, preferential supplier contracts, etc. are all nothing more than bailouts. A bailout is one time, the others are ongoing. The latter can cost way more, but are usually utterly ignored by the media. Not as flashy, it seems.
And if GM was French or German, you think those governments would sit idly by? No. Look no further than Airbus to see how the Europeans handle things. And I also doubt the German media pissed all over Mercedes when their quality dipped the way the US media has been on GM et al's cases for the past few decades. Sure, GM et al screwed up, but you'd think you'd give them kudos for when they did good. Nope. A sucker gets an even break, but not GM, Ford, or Chrysler. It reminds me of that old joke that our ex-PM Paul Martin said once. "If I walked on water the media would report the story the next day with the headline: 'Paul Martin Can't Swim!'". Sigh.
Think about it. What would be more helpful to the long term health of the US? Bailing out Wall Street's greed or providing loans to GM, Ford, and Chrysler to ensure millions of manufacturing jobs stay in the United States? Who do you think actually learned a lesson from their past mistakes? Wall Street or Detroit? Who goes running to the Fed at the first opportunity? Wall Street or Detroit. I think you know the answer to that.
And I won't get started on the whole lumber thing that the US and Canada got into a while back. Wherein the US bailed out the US lumber industry via illegal tariffs. Especially egregious since Canadian lumber was cheaper because our dollar was at 60 cents at the time.