Wednesday, August 3, 2011
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Gwinnett Daily Post
The editorial cartoon depicting auto manufacturers sending Barack Obama a message that the technology doesn't exist to create a car that will get 52 miles per gallon over multiple forms of technology (smart phone, satellite, iPad, etc.) implies that manufacturers are lying or at least aren't trying hard enough. He uses a non sequitir to argue this point; since these forms of communication technology exist, it must therefore be possible to fulfill Obama's out-of-thin-air mpg mandate.
The cartoonist misses at least two important facts. The first is that none of the technology noted in the cartoon was created by government or by government mandate. It was all the free market.
It ignores the fact that if it were possible to build a car that is structurally safe and has the amenities people want along with the higher mpg ratings, unfettered capitalism, not government, will provide it. Do you have any idea how many people would buy such a car? The company that creates and sells this car would make millions in the first year alone.
Obama is displaying what economist F.A. Hayek called "fatal conceit," the idea that planners could somehow plan an economy better than the free market, and the cartoonist is playing right along.
The unintended consequence of building a car that gets 52 mpg is simple: more serious injuries and deaths on our highways.
The only way to increase gas mileage is to lower the weight of the car. This means lighter, softer and less protective cars that do not protect the occupants as well as heavier stronger bodied cars that we have today. Is that what you really want?
-- Thomas Bardugon