Thursday, January 29, 2009

Detroit's Welfare

The Times-Herald of Port Huron, MI is worried about the environment:

President Barack Obama carries the hopes of many Americans -- many who rightly believe his administration has a responsibility to reduce air pollution and set a national course toward a healthier environment.

There should be no dispute about the importance of that goal.
Having ruled out any possibility of disputing this, we can all agree that as important as a healthier environment may be, it's not nearly as important as kowtowing to the dead-enders who control what's left of our auto industry:
Obama's decision opens the way for the Golden State to set its own standards -- and at least 14 other states that adopted California's. Despite the euphoria many environmentalists might feel, the prospect is another challenge to the nation's embattled auto industry.
"Embattled" is one way of putting it. "Shortsighted," "arrogant," "corrupt," and "stupid" are other words that spring to mind. Particularly given what comes next:
Stronger emissions and fuel-efficiency standards...cannot come at the risk of the nation's weakened auto industry.

For now, new federal regulations must be considered in accordance with Detroit's welfare.
So there's no disputing the importance of cleaner air, but Detroit gets the final say on when and if we can have it. Seems to me I've been hearing that refrain for several decades now. Perhaps its basic assumptions are as flawed as the business model that led to the recent "need" for a massive bailout (or "Detroit's welfare," if you prefer).

That bailout, by the way, is not a reward for mismanagement, by any means. Nor does it amount to throwing money down a well. In fact, it's a cruel, cruel burden that Detroit bears only with the greatest difficulty:
Chrysler LLC and General Motors are fighting for their lives. The automakers are struggling to meet a number of stringent restructuring demands in accordance with the billion [???] dollars in emergency loans the Bush administration approved in December.
In other words, the "hardship" of restructuring gives the auto industry the moral authority to veto clean-air regulations in 15 or more states.

Once you've accepted this, you can pat yourself on the back for your patriotism and your understanding of the Free Market.

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