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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ready to Drive a Smart Car or a Mini Cooper?

Ready to Drive a Smart Car or a Mini Cooper?
Don’t get me wrong.  If you choose to purchase and drive a Smart Car or a Mini Cooper then by all means please feel free to do so.  I believe everyone should be able to drive the car of their dreams whether it is a muscle car, a big SUV, a luxury automobile, a study sedan, or whatever you choose.  That’s what freedom is all about, that’s what being an American is all about, or at least has been about until the current Administration came along.

Sometimes I think the folks who populate this Administration have rocks in their heads.  What are they thinking?  Why are they so intent on reducing the American standard of living?  Where did they get the idea that because America prospers, others don’t?

Just the opposite is true.  The more America prospers, the more other countries and other peoples benefit.  The United States is the economic engine of the world and if President Obama succeeds in lowering our standard of American living, other nations and people all around the globe will suffer accordingly.

Economics is not a zero sum game.  When two free people decide to exchange their products with each other, both benefit.  When a man who builds rocking chairs and a man who grows oranges live freely, they can decide to exchange their products and both benefit.  The orange grower who wants a rocking chair and the rocking chair builder who wants to eat oranges can freely exchange one for another and both smile and benefit.  Dollars are simply a representation of the many goods and services created and when I use my dollars to buy oranges or a rocking chair, I’m simply exchanging the value of the goods and services I create for someone else’s goods and services.  It’s all about freedom.

But when government intervenes and decides that I can only buy certain oranges or rocking chairs that meet certain specifications, they diminish my choices and thus my freedom.  Government intervention into the marketplace always diminishes freedom and makes goods and services more costly.  Always.  There are no exceptions.

But let’s get back to Smart Cars and Mini Coopers.  In the Monday, June 27th edition of the Wall Street Journal, there was an article on page A3 that caught my attention.  Titled, Your Mileage May Vary, this piece announced the White House proposal that the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards be increased to 56.2 miles per gallon by 2025.  This is a dumb idea for many reasons, but in my book the worst part of it is the fact that the government wants to once again reduce your personal freedom.  This government, this Administration, has zero concern about reducing freedom.  They just don’t care.

It means you won’t be able to choose to buy the car or van or truck you want.  Instead, you will be forced to purchase something like a Smart Car or a Mini Cooper because that will be all the government will allow to be produced and purchased.  That’s an outrage.

It all springs from the same dumb liberal idea that a small group of self-styled intellectuals should decide how you should live instead of you deciding how you should live.  It means no more Corvettes, 400 HP Mustangs, no Suburbans, no SUVs, and no nice big luxury cars (except for the big government bosses, of course).  Just like the Soviet Union, the government bosses who create nothing, add nothing, and live off of the efforts of those who do create and build, will live like princes, while you and I settle for what they decide we shall have the opportunity to drive. 

I said this was a dumb idea for a number of reasons and it is.  Another reason it is dumb is that you cannot legislate or bureaucratically mandate (since this Administration has a proclivity for ignoring the Constitution and bypassing Congress) scientific advances.  Legislating or mandating an average gas mileage of 56.2 miles per gallon simply means smaller, lighter and clearly more dangerous automobiles.  It means driving little, underpowered, undersized automobiles like they do in Europe.  They have already removed spare tires from new cars just to reduce weight and meet the arbitrary government CAFE standards.

It’s what Obama wants.  He wants you and me to lower our standard of living by forcing Socialism on us.  It has absolutely nothing to do with pollution or global warming or any other imagined or real problem.  It’s all about control over your life and mine.  He and other self-styled decision makers believe they know better than you do how you should live.

Obama has made it clear that he would be delighted if gasoline prices slowly rise to those of Europe.  Earlier this year I was in Italy and the price of gasoline was $13 (US) per gallon.  Much of that cost was related to gargantuan taxes on gasoline.  Regulations like CAFE regulations cost young people and those just entering the business world more than all the taxes imposed by big government.  It hurts your children and ultimately your grandchildren more than it does you.

Another thing wrong with this idea is that today the United States has the world’s largest known combined reserves of oil and natural gas.  That’s known reserves.  And with the advent of fracking, we now have access to billions of cubic feet of natural gas and billions of gallons of oil (“fracking” refers to the new process of recovering oil and gas from shale).  We have vast resources in Alaska, offshore and within federally owned land.  If government would get out of the way the price of gas at the pump would be no more than a dollar per gallon.

There is no purpose whatsoever to raising the CAFE standards.  None.  In fact, the very idea that government can tell a private business how a product it produces must perform is of questionable Constitutionality.  In fact, I suspect that there is no Constitutional basis for such governmental authority.  But more to the point, the CAFE standards should be eliminated entirely.  If you want to drive a car that burns more gasoline per mile and I want to buy one that burns less per mile, that’s your business and my business, not the business of some government busybody. 

If the government would simply get out of the way and let the free market work, we could see an early return to prosperity.  It is unreasonable to think that a few people, even if they are über smart, can make better decisions than free people deciding for themselves what to buy, what to drive, what to wear, what to eat, where to go, and who to worship.  It’s the silliest and most dangerous idea ever conceived by man and it always leads to serfdom.

The American dream is dying.  The idea of the United States as the land of opportunity is dying.  It’s being killed off by folks who think this nation has prospered by stealing the wealth of other nations.  While Obama can’t blame Americans for colonialism, he calls us neo-colonists.  In other words, we may never have held colonies, but through our economic might we have raped and pillaged the wealth of other nations.

It’s nuts, but that’s what he and his liberal friends believe.  They believe that our economic system has exploited the poor in order for you and me to prosper.  The truth is that the United States of America has been not only the most free and most prosperous nation in the world, but also the most compassionate and generous nation in the world.  Unique in the history, we have shared our wealth with other nations as no other people ever have.  We have been peacemakers, while others have been aggressors.  And when, in the lead up to World War II, Germany’s National Socialist Party (NAZI) attacked their neighbors, we came to their rescue.  Then after WWII the United States of America did something that had never been done before.  We not only gave aid to our allies so they could rebuild, but we also generously gave aid to our enemies to help them rebuild.  It was totally unprecedented.  In fact, while we were providing help to those in need, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) under Stalin enslaved millions of people.

In today’s world there is always a choice—either socialism or freedom.  What will that choice be?

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