The New Clarion

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A Symptom of the Disease

March 5th, 2009 by Chuck · 9 Comments · Business

To the surprise of no one who understands capitalism, hybrid cars are not selling.  The powers that be in our government want Americans to buy and drive hybrid vehicles, to save the earth from the putative anthropogenic global warming crisis.  So the government either mandates the production of such vehicles outright, or “encourages” their production in a multitude of ways, e.g., preventing oil exploration, raising taxes on gasoline, mandating specific miles per gallon that vehicles must achieve, spending taxpayers’ money on hybrid research, and everything in between. 

And what is the result of all this government central planning?  Mike Jackson, the CEO of AutoNation, the nation’s largest car dealer, spoke on this subject recently:

There are way too many Toyota Prius hybrids sitting on his car lots across America.

They stretch “as far as the eye can see,” Jackson remarked at The Wall Street’s Journal ECO: nomics conference. He estimated he had some 600,000 hybrid cars “that no one wants.

That’s what happens when businessmen do what the government wants, instead of what the market wants. And what is Mr. Jackson’s solution to this problem?

“I’m looking for a change in consumer behavior,” Jackson said.
One way to motivate consumers to buy more hybrids is a national gasoline tax that would push gas-pump prices to the neighborhood of $4 a gallon, Jackson said. This would help drive down petroleum prices, something that benefits U.S. chemical and airline companies.
This “would keep money in the good ole USA. What’s wrong with that?” Jackson remarked.
That’s right, more government intervention in the economy, more central planning.  Raise the price of gas with even higher taxes, forcing consumers to buy cars that get better gas mileage.  And this government application of force is labelled “motivation.”  The same kind of “motivation” that caused banks to loan to borrowers who couldn’t pay them back.  Notice the brazen attempt to make us believe they would be doing us a favor by raising taxes on gasoline.  We would spend less money on foreign oil, thus keeping more money “in the good ole USA.”  Yes, they really think we’re morons.
A rose by any other name is still a rose.  And force is force.     

9 Comments so far ↓

  • Burgess Laughlin

    Chuck, you have produced here a well crafted article. It looks at facts, quotes actual views, draws inferences — and then, like a soft-spoken boxer — delivers a knockout punch at the end.

    P. S. — The most chilling line quoted is “What’s wrong with that?”

  • Madmax

    With businessmen like these who needs socialist politicians.

  • Andrew Dalton

    “would keep money in the good ole USA.”

    And notice the unspoken premise: wealth is not created, and it is not even traded value-for-value for imported goods. Rather, it must be jealously hoarded to protect the interests of the group.

  • Mike

    Wait, really? Hybrids aren’t selling? I wonder if this is just a consequence of car sales overall being down. Two of my friends sell Toyotas for a living and ever since the gas spike, they say the only cars anyone EVER buys are Prius, Yaris, and Corolla. I know I can’t wait to get a hybrid, because I want to pay less to Islamic oil barons. Only thing stopping me is I want to squeeze every last day of use out of my old car first.

    I mean, Jackson would know, since he owns the dealer chain my buddies both actually work for. I don’t doubt him as such that the cars are sitting there. I just wonder if it’s correlation or causation we’re talking about here. More mileage is something virtually every driver is excited about these days.

  • Chuck

    Mike, why are people excited about getting more mileage per gallon of gasoline? Because prices are high. And why are prices high? Because of taxes, environmental regulations preventing drilling and exploration, and more use of oil in developing countries. Two of those three reasons are government driven, and could be eliminated tomorrow.

    And as for paying less to Islamic oil barons, that too could be eliminated, if we took back the oil that the Islamic oil barons stole from Western oil companies.

    In a capitalist society, decisions on what kind of cars ought to be made are left to those who make them. Not the government.

  • Chuck

    As for the spike in the price of gasoline, which induced a wave of hybrid sales, that is exactly what the environmentalists hoped and wished for. And that’s why they are gnashing their teeth about the price of oil coming back to earth. And why they are right there with Mr. Jackson, wanting to raise the price of gasoline back to $4 per gallon via taxes, if all their other methods os raising prices come to naught.

  • Harold

    As for paying the Islamic oil barons, please understand that crude comes from all over, not just the Middle East. Though, I wouldn’t complain if they took it back.

    I rented a vehicle from Enterprise once and they gave me a Prius. It’s too small, but I enjoyed driving it all the same.

  • Bill Brown

    Here are some numbers for Harold’s statement, from an earlier post here.

  • Harold

    Mr. Brown, thanks for the link. That’s been my experience, but the hard numbers always help.