Arch-thieves kill a giant business

By Mark Luedtke

Even steel can only bend so far before it breaks. The same with businesses and the economy. For decades, free market supporters have warned that government interventions in the market—taxes, regulations, money-printing, and strong-arm tactics—burden, pervert, and ultimately break companies and markets. Progressively onerous interventions inevitably destroy markets.

And we’ve watched it happen. The healthcare market has been bent to the breaking point. It’s collapsing before our eyes. The energy market is perverted beyond rationality.

For over a century, the automobile business bent. Before the creation of the Federal Reserve (Fed) and progressive rule, hundreds of automobile companies operated in the US. By the end of the 1920s bubble, three dominated. By the end of the Great Depression that followed the 1929 crash, all the small car companies were wiped out.

In 1973 President Nixon unleashed the Fed from the dollar’s weak tie to gold so money-printing—legalized counterfeiting—ran rampant. The automobile market suffered more, and the Feds bailed out Chrysler in 1979. They bailed out General Motors and Chrysler again in the 2000s.

Ford Motor Company recently announced the next, inevitable step in the destruction of the automobile industry. Car Pro reports, “During its shareholder meeting this week, Ford announced it will be axing traditional sedans in North America. As in, goodbye future generations of the Fusion, Taurus, C-MAX, and Fiesta. The only cars that will remain past their current generations: the Mustang and the Focus Active crossover, which is due to arrive in 2019.”

Ford cites declining consumer demand and product profitability as reasons for
the decision.

But Ford is only axing sedans only in the US which begs the question of why here and not everywhere else. A few articles explain why.

Independent car reviewer Eric Peters notes the Jeep you can buy but can’t drive. “Well, here’s one you can at least buy—and it’s legal to own it, too. No government SWAT teams will descend for having one in the garage. It’s the $15,540 Mahindra Roxor,” he writes “It’s basically a rebooted ‘70s-era Jeep CJ, which  means it’s a rugged, simple 4×4. It features heavy duty body-on-frame construction, with a rugged steel body designed to be easy—and cheap—to repair.”

With a 2.5 liter engine, this Jeep gets 50 MPG. It affordable and economical. There’s only one problem. You can’t drive it on US roads because it doesn’t meet US government regulations. But people in other countries can buy and drive it, which makes it profitable elsewhere, just not here. It costs a lot more money to make a similar Jeep that meets government’s arbitrary standards.

Peters continues, “The Roxor’s closest analog in an Uncle-approved vehicle is the current Jeep Wrangler—which is the great-great-grandson of the ‘70s-era Jeep CJ. A new Wrangler’s base price is $27,495—a difference of just under $12,000.”

In other words, government regulations add about $12,000 to the price of vehicles, pricing most sedans out of profitability.

In a related story, a German engineer for Porsche was kidnapped by government stormtroopers for the crime of supposedly cheating on emissions tests. Arbitrary emissions tests cause diesels to run inefficiently, so engineers from several companies designed systems that would score successfully during testing, but operate more efficiently on the roads.

US rulers and allies have deemed this a crime punishable by kidnapping. The cost of government regulations in the automobile market isn’t just financial. It’s human. It’s destroying people’s lives. Company officials can’t in good conscience provide dirtier and less efficient cars to their customers, nor can they subject their employees to state-sanctioned kidnapping for creating better products. Leaving the market is the only moral option.

And while government emissions don’t regulate CO2, rulers have strong-armed companies into reducing CO2 emissions and even banned internal combustion engines in the near future, effectively ending their development today, because of phony claims that man-made CO2 creates catastrophic global warming.

Forbes once wrote about the inexplicable war on lemonade stands. There’s nothing inexplicable about it. The power of coercion corrupts. Limited government never remains limited. Like cancer, it grows until it consumes so much of the wealth which sustains it that it destroys the host.

Nothing escapes predation by rulers. Not the healthcare, energy, or automobile markets. Not lemonade stands.

Others will follow Ford as the economy continues down the drain. Society won’t heal until we abolish government intervention in the marketplace.

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Mark Luedtke
Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at MarkLuedtke@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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