Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Administration Says: Please Buy a New Car But Leave Home Without It

The Administration is all over the auto industry these days. On the one hand, there is immense effort to deal with the miserable condition of GM and Chrysler. The government is in charge and will have its way, one way or another, with all the other parties trying to game the system as best as they can.

On another related front, one of the centerpieces of the stimulus program was an enhanced roads program. We recall VP Biden proudly standing in Michigan touting the alacrity with which a 4-lane roadway was being transformed into one with 6 lanes.

And many of us remember Dr. Christina Romer on Meet the Press 6 weeks ago saying the following:

I think we know that consumers have lost a lot of wealth and that normally what you'd say is they should be saving more. I think the truth is consumers have also not done a lot of spending for the last 14 months. So what I would predict and I think would be a perfectly reasonable thing is you go out and you buy that car that you've been thinking about for 14 months and you do some of the spending.

So Barack Obama is strongly in favor of keeping lots of people busy building autos, making driving hassle-free, and of course busy adding another vehicle to the roads.

There is however a great big green BUT . . .

Barack Obama personally has informed us that we must reduce our carbon emissions. Being green means to the administration that every human exhalation is contributing to the rising of the seas. Therefore, every time anyone drives a vehicle anywhere, some grains of sand on a beach are being murdered as the oceans rise in response.

The U. S. contains about 9 motorized vehicles for every ten Americans. The green solution is to reduce that ratio substantially. The politically expedient solution is for taxpayers to keep subsidizing all of the following: auto manufacturers, the pensions of the UAW, the providers of financing to purchasers or lessees of the vehicles, and the maintenance and expansion of the roadways. Not to forget that taxpayers are going to subsidize improvements on the internal combusion engine.

Houston, we have a contradiction. An important part of Federal policy is to support the auto industry as we know it. Please don't use the end product, though, because when you do, you are an environmental villain.

We have other contradictions. Since this is a President who is emphasizing personal responsibility, what about him ending his addiction to cigarettes? Every time he lights up, he is adding to the global burden of carbon in the air. In addition, he is supporting some of the worst of the worst corporate offenders. He is adding a health care burden on society. He is setting a horrible example for American teenagers. Etc.

Cumulatively, if 60 million Americans smoke an average of 20 cigarettes a day, is that not as meaningful from an environmental + health point of view than the recent Administration goal of taking $100 M out of Federal expenditures is to a $3+ trillion budget?

Mr. President, put out that butt! (Please)

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