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.”
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