J. D. Longstreet
"The Obama" is off and running. His sharp left turn, which was predicted by even the most semiconscious conservative writers, commentators and pundits, is now apparent for all to see. But, by far, the DUMBEST thing, in my estimation, he has done to date, is ordering the Department of Transportation to develop higher fuel efficiency standards for cars. Car efficiency standards are already creaming the US car makers while, those same car makers are getting a government bailout at the same time. Does that seem the least bit off-kilter to you? Well, it does to me! Is this DUMB, or what?
Like a drowning man, the US auto makers are going under for the third time and, frankly, I am not convinced the life-preserver bailout, thrown from the "Ship of State", will be of any help at all. Actually, I am not convinced the life preserver SHOULD be thrown in the first place!
I am against the bail-out. But then you probably already deduced that. Methinks we ought to allow those car companies to go into bankruptcy and reorder themselves and make another try for survival. If they can, and do, survive, mores the better. Those motorized carriage makers, too weak to survive, ought to close up shop. That is the capitalist way. That is the American way. One could even say it is nature's way.
Have you any idea how many car companies have failed? Do you have any idea how many car makers in America have opened shop, produced cars for several years, and then gone under? A slew of them!
I suppose everyone knows of the Tucker (due to the movie). A friend of mine was ticking them off in his column the other day and he managed to name a number of cars from my childhood that are no longer around. They are long gone. As a matter of fact, I owned at least two of those now non-existent cars. So, just from my, ahem, younger years, there was the Studebaker, the Packard, the Norge, the Kaiser, the Frasier, the Willys, and the Nash. Before that there was another bevy of jalopies that didn't make it. Some of those cars were simply so far ahead of their time that would-be buyers were afraid of buying them. Believe me, it happened back then. I owned a 1957 Packard.. Depending upon your perspective, it was a gorgeous machine with a 275 - 300 horsepower engine (I never was quite sure of the horsepower of that engine.)... with or without the supercharger. Driving a the Studebaker "Golden Hawk" was as close to low altitude flying as was possible in those days.
Here's a look at the Golden Hawk:
Here's a look at the Packard:
Now, if the government continues to insist that American built cars get more and more miles to the gallon of gasoline, we will have surpassed the technology to do so. We may have done so, already. So, in order to reach those standards the car makers will have to resort to downsizing the cars. Down sizing means less weight. Less weight translates into more miles per gallon. Then we will see the return of the little "beer-can" cars. Those were the uncomfortably small cars that you dare not lean against for fear that your body weight might cave-in the quarter panel or the door of the car!
I know of one police department that bought a fleet of those small cars, for patrolling the city, and when they mounted the red/blue lights on the roof, the roof caved in and they had to have all the headliners of their brand new police cars stripped out and reinforcing bars placed in the roof just to hold up the red/blue light! I kid you not! One officer told me he was afraid to drive the cars. He said they were so light that in a hot pursuit, you could hardly control the car, he said it was all over the road. Needless to say, those cars were gone, very soon, and the trusty ole Crown Vic was back.
The small cars, US car makers will be forced to build as a result of government regulations, will not only be ugly, they will also be dangerous. This ought to concern you as a prospective buyer. And I am sure it will. Sales of American cars will drop even more. At some point, the likelihood that the already bailed out car makers will go under anyway, becomes extremely high.
And what about the desires of the consumer? I mean, if you have a large family, you NEED a large car. Senior citizens might need a larger car simply because it is easier to get into and out of for them. The government is going to deny them the car they need and/or want. But, hey... that's what central planning by a socialist government does. Everybody suffers equally! And let's face it, dear reader, the US now has a socialist government.
Some of us, including yours truly, will opt to keep my General Motors 4-door sedan and my Dodge truck. They are both nice and big. Other than maintenance, they hardly ever need repairs. My truck is easy to get into and out of... and... when I need a truck, I have one.They ride smoothly, and, if I am in an accident, I actually have some sheet metal between me and the opposing vehicle. In other words... they are safer.
Then there is the question of whether the bailout is for the car maker or the unions who have been so loyal to the Democrat Party. Many Americans think the bail-outs are really intended to help secure the union workers jobs. That view is prevalent here in the Southland of America where the unions are not so warmly embraced as they are elsewhere. We have automakers here operating car making businesses at a profit.
To sum up... no bail-out for the US car makers. They should be allowed to sink or survive on their own. If that means they will be forced to move more and more of their production facilities overseas, where labor is cheaper, then they should do so. If it means moving their entire production facility to a foreign country, then they should do so. But not one red cent of American taxpayer money should go to them directly and to the unions indirectly. And... the Department of Transportation ought not insist on higher fuel efficiency standards for the cars and trucks they build here in The States. They know, as do we, that higher fuel efficiency standards will cost thousand of workers in the auto industry, and related businesses, their jobs. The government is acting like a cartoon character with one hand out to the US Auto Industry while the other hand, behind its back, is holding a hammer with which to crush US auto makers!
All in all, America has the government it said, by its vote, it wanted. It's far too late to whine and moan about their socialist agenda now that they have the power over your life. Looking as far as I an see down the road, I'd say the socialists are in a position, thanks to the American voter, to solidify their hold on America for, well, eternity. Well, at least until The Union comes apart again as it did in the 1860's. I won't live to see it, but as each day goes by and the government grows bigger, its intrusion into our lives will grow more intense, and that option will begin to look better and better.
I had a male friend stand in my office today and declare that, in his opinion, America has seen her last free election. I agreed with him. Those feelings are stirring again and have been for some time... and not just in the states that were forced back into The Union at bayonet point. This time those feelings are shared by many in various geographical parts of this country. "The Obama" and his cohorts either do not understand, or simply do not care, that what they do in the next four years may determine the survival of the US as a 50 state country or bring on the change that will break her apart into the democratic states which will live or die by the original constitution, as a Representative Republic or Republics, and those states that will suffer as socialist hell holes in the backwaters of a political swamp that was once that "Shining City" on a hill.
J. D. Longstreet