Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oldsmobile Nation (Gary North)

Gary North on the impending bailout of the "Big 3" and the Year of the Living Dead:

On April 29, 2004, the last Oldsmobile rolled off the assembly line in Lansing, Michigan.

The Olds Cutlass had been the #1 selling car in America in the mid-1970's. In the 80's, Olds did well. But in the 90's, it became a stodgy, nothing-special vehicle, stuck in between Pontiac (youth) and Buick (successful middle age). I knew it was not long for this world when an ad agency introduced this slogan: "This is not you father's Oldsmobile!" This immediately popped into my head: "Is it my grandfather's?"

Do you miss the Oldsmobile? Have you given it much thought?

Fast forward to today. Imagine a TV film clip of President-elect Obama. "Oldsmobile is the backbone of American manufacture."

You would think he has gone nuts. Who cares about Oldsmobile? It's gone. Forgotten. Unlamented.

Obama said this on Sunday's "Meet the Press": "The auto industry is the backbone of American manufacture."

That sounded plausible, until we recognize the context: a proposal to bail out GM, Ford, and Chrysler. Not under discussion is a bailout of Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW, and other automobile companies that produce cars in the United States.

This is a proposed bailout of the equivalent of Oldsmobile. It is a bailout of firms that could not meet the test of the competitive marketplace.

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