Editorial: Why Buy American?

Daniel Morgan
by Daniel Morgan
editorial why buy american

We are like fish, swimming wide-eyed through an ocean of blood, that no longer taste the horror in which we are suspended. On Dec. 19th, eight days after the automotive bailout bill failed in the senate, former President George W. Bush used his executive power to direct $13.4 billion to the automotive industry—$9.4 billion for General Motors and $4 billion for Chrysler. This is a measure only 36 percent of the country supported, according to a December CNN poll. The cost of this bailout will be tossed atop the $10.6 trillion U.S. debt, according to the treasury. This is a debt our generation will be forced to spend its lifetime repaying.

To add insult to injury, one of the first things Chrysler did with its money was take out a full-page, color ad in The Wall Street Journal and USA Today entitled “Thank You America — thank you for investing in Chrysler” signed by Bob Nardelli, Chrysler’s CEO and Chairman.

It’s hard to imagine something more disgusting.

Usually when one says “investing,” one refers to voluntarily exchanging money for a share in future profits. But the “investing” of Bush’s executive order was involuntary. It occurred not through the invisible hand of the free market but through the iron fist of government power.

To call this “investing” is to kidnap and call it a date. To call this “investing” is to enslave and insist that it is employment. To call this “investing” is to rape and plead that it is lovemaking.

One does not have to be an economic expert to appreciate the reality of this situation. The government finances the automakers’ bailout through taxation, through you.

If you do not pay your taxes, then you will receive a court summons. If you do not answer your court summons, then men with guns will come to your door. If you resist them, then you will be shot.

The Detroit Bailout—like all bailouts and all government action—is made possible by the threat of violence. This is the gun in the room Nardelli wants you to ignore. This is the gun that forces Nardelli to lie.

As Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote, “violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence. Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his method is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle.”

If one wishes to speak with honesty and clarity about our society, one must begin by pointing out the difference between voluntary and coercive action; and by pointing out the gun.

This is the gun that forces people to act against their self-interest. This is the gun that damns politicians to a lifetime of deceit and bribery. This is the gun that both political parties will gladly wield in exchange for the glories of political power.

Despite having to crawl to Congress late last year, Chrysler was stable enough to donate almost $900,000 to political causes in the latest election cycle. United Auto Workers, who begged and pleaded alongside them, gave more than $2 million to the Democrats in 2008, according to opensecrets.org. These voluntary measures, unlike the bailout, could be considered an investment.

When Bush used his executive power to pay back Chrysler, the democratic process failed to represent the will of the people. But we still have the ability to vote with our dollars. The next time you need to buy a car, don’t feel pressured to “Buy American.”

Join the conversation
2 of 146 comments
  • U mad scientist U mad scientist on Feb 06, 2009
    There’s a market for what a contemporary electric drive car can do, whether it’s driven by batteries, or a charging engine. Sure there's a market, just a very small one. I'm glad you're coming around. - I’d agree if there were an MBA saying it. Don't be so modest. You obfuscate with the best of them. - The amount of portable electic power relative to weight of the storage medium has improved nicely over the past 20 years, just not impressively compared to digital tech. Not really. Lithium's been around for while. Hell fuel cells have been around forever. There's not much else on the horizon. We're stuck unless something magical happens. Improving something with volt's size/cost to 50mi from 40mi is not a game changer. - Between my wife and I, one car could be electric and one ICE, and all of our private mobility needs would be met. There are a lot of couples in that position. I'm sure if this is an authoritarian country, people can make do with electrics when mandated. But the reality is people have to choose to buy them, and those numbers are very low for the cost and drawbacks they possess. - Early electric car adoption will be emotionally-driven, which will break down inhibitors holding back some others. Again, sure. But number of people willing to drop 30-40 large at least on something objectively inferior is not exactly plentiful. The user experience when they're stuck on the side of the road will ensure it. - This is the classic engineer objection that just won’t matter to people who want an electric car for other reasons. I'm perfectly aware people often make "dumb" purchasing decisions. Otherwise why would so many keep buying domestics all these years? :-) The reality remains that it's a niche for people with money to throw around. With better marketing, maybe you get a couple more percent to spend it here, or make it a halo or whatever, but the fundamental issues will keep it from being anything more than a side show.

  • Mgme Mgme on Feb 15, 2009

    I paid .50 cents on the dollar in taxes this year totaling about 40K. I feel more connected to any bailout this year because of this fact. I still feel that even though these auto makers need to be held accountable for the tax payer money they spend they still need elbow room to conduct business. If a full page color ad saying thank you to Americans brings some people into Chrysler showrooms then maybe this is money well spent. If I own stock in Coke I will not purchase Pepsi at the super market!

  • The Oracle I say let the clunkers stay on the roads.
  • Jpolicke Twenty-three grand for a basket case? And it has '66 wheel covers and gas cap so who knows what else isn't original?
  • Scott Can't be a real 1965 Stang as all of those are nothing but a pile of rust that MIGHT be car shaped by now.
  • 56m65711446 So, the engineers/designers that brought us the Pinto are still working at Ford!
  • Spookiness I dig it. The colors are already available on the CX-50. The terracotta is like a nice saddle brown. The non-turbo Carbon Edition has a bluish gray and a burgundy leather interior. A nice break from the typical relentless black and 50 shade of gray palette. Early CX-30's had some dark navy blue (armest, console, and parts of the door) but I guess that was just too weird and radical so they switched to all-black.I'd be fine with cloth in colors, leather is over-rated, but I'll never have an all-black interior in a car ever again.