Ed Niedermeyer is too humble to say it, so it’s left to me: Ed just had his second third op-ed piece in the New York Times. Required reading. Two core sentences:
“In particular, what Mr. Obama called his “one goal” — having Detroit “lead the world in building the next generation of clean cars” — is nowhere near being achieved. While the idea of improving G.M.’s and Chrysler’s fuel efficiency was doubtless a politically popular justification for the bailout, American consumers have not embraced the goal with equal fervor. Sales of fuel-sipping compact and subcompact cars have actually dropped this year, while pickup and sport utility vehicle sales grew by double-digit percentages.”
Honestly: Trying to tell customers what to buy fails. You have to make what they want. If they want dualies, give them dualies. It (still) is a free country. The mind-altering abilities of advertising are vastly overrated.
“And if Detroit’s slipping into bad old habits wasn’t distressing enough, the bailouts have created a perverse new dynamic. With G.M. stock now being publicly traded on Wall Street, taxpayers have every incentive to cheer on the bailed-out automaker as it overproduces vehicles and pushes cheap credit. After all, the sooner G.M.’s stock hits a certain level — likely around $52 per share — the sooner the Treasury can sell its remaining equity and get taxpayers out of risk.”
True, very true.