From what I have read in our reports on the matter, letting the big three go under might be the straw. I can see the problems for a staunch capitalist nation in aiding a failing private company, but surely if the repercussions of collapse will detrimentally affect the entire US economy, it would be worth breaking from ideology? Clearly, some strict requirements and limitations should be placed upon the companies in question in the event of a loan, though.
I think the chair of the Senate Banking Committee (Sen. Christopher Dodd) put the point well: "This is not about acting to save individual companies. If it were, I would let them fail."
I found this somewhat amusing: 'The chief executives of Ford and GM have even offered to work for $1 a year if Congress approves the emergency aid.'