Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Heresy!

This is precisely the kind of crap that pisses me off:
The result was an industry that became brain dead.

Nothing typified this more than statements like those of Bob Lutz, G.M.’s vice chairman. He has been quoted as saying that hybrids like the Toyota Prius “make no economic sense.” And, in February, D Magazine of Dallas quoted him as saying that global warming “is a total crock of [expletive].”
Friedman is making a point about the sorry state of Detroit automakers. He has some very good points to make. Even concedes that part of the problem is "overly generous labor contracts," which is as far as liberals will generally go to acknowledge how destructive unions can be.

But his evidence of a "brain dead" industry is one executive's denial of global warming? Isn't it slightly more "brain dead" to accept science-by-consensus and condemn those who dare to question it? Admittedly, Lutz's method wasn't exactly intellectually stimulating. But still, this is the evidence that they're unworthy of help?

Friedman's next piece of evidence, of course, follows a similar course:
And please, spare me the alligator tears about G.M.’s health care costs. Sure, they are outrageous. “But then why did G.M. refuse to lift a finger to support a national health care program when Hillary Clinton was pushing for it?” asks Dan Becker, a top environmental lobbyist.
This time, it's revenge! Okay, not really. Friedman is a bit more nuanced than that. It's more "why should we care about their high healthcare costs when they could have done something to shift that burden to the government years ago?"

Well, okay. But does Friedman think that universal healthcare would be free to GM? That's crazy. It's got to be paid for somehow, and it's most likely going to come out of corporate taxes. And what are the chances that Friedman would be more sympathetic if GM was currently complaining about excessive corporate taxes? Slim to none.

Just to be clear, I don't think we should be bailing out the auto industry. I think there's a mechanism in place for that, and it's called bankruptcy.

But Friedman's arguments are crap.

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