The car that Portland can embrace

Now that Detroit and Washington DC are, for all intents and purposes the same city, you might enjoy a preview of what’s in store for the American car buying public in the near future. I have no doubt that Portland will host the first franchise.

Steve Buckstein is founder and senior policy analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research center.

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Posted by at 11:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 21 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • David Appell

    > Now that Detroit and Washington DC are, for all intents and
    > purposes the same city,

    And whose fault is this? As I recall, it is the car companies who were unable to compete and sank to bankruptcy as a result of their incompetence. They came crying to Washington, not the other way around. The fed govt is doing everyone a favor, instead of letting the companies fail, as they truly should, along with the 10+M workers who feed the parts.

    Is that what you’d prefer? >10M out of work?

    • Steve Buckstein

      David, I don’t prefer anyone out of work, but I prefer government takeovers of the auto companies even less. If the companies were truly unable to compete then, yes, they should fail and let those who can do a better job pick up the pieces and supply the market. Now we have another “too big to fail” situation with the government moving farther and farther beyond its level of incompetence.

      • Max

        The premise of the post is wrong headed. The government is not running GM. It loaned GM a lot of money as a last resort because at that time the nation’s economy was in free fall and many, if not most reputable economists were predicting another depression. The loan was predicated on GM developing a plan for recovery. This plan was inadequate, and the Government (us) converted our loan(s) into ownership shares. No one, especially Obama, wants the government running a car company, an insurance company, or major banks. But when capitalism fails it leaves a lot of wreckage, and the federal government is the only dog out there with the ability to print money and stabilize the ship of state. That is the story here. At the end of the day, those who do run GM, private management, and the workers, will either figure out how to build affordable, high quality vehicles or they won’t.

        And by the way, Toyota sold more Prius’s just in Japan last month than GM sold in total in the entire US. The market has shifted and GM is left with a bunch of unsellable SUVs and crappy cars.

    • Harry

      Hey, who stole “David’s” Appellation, and spoke with reason and intelligence on Oregon Catalyst?

      Of course they should fail, if they don’t succeed.

      Freedom of Religion…
      Freedom of Speech…
      Freedom of Association…
      Freedom of Markets…

      • David Appell

        > Freedom of Religion…
        > Freedom of Speech…
        > Freedom of Association…
        > Freedom of Markets…

        The first three are specified in the Bill of Rights. I don’t recall that the fourth is specified there. Can you please be more specific about where it occurs there?

  • Conscience of a Moonbat

    The U.S. Constitution is based on the doctrine of UNENUMERATED rights and it’s delegated authority for gov’t to act is based on the ENUMERATED powers doctrine. Of course, Progs hold no faith in the dead-white-male Constitution or any of its doctrines, and D.C. socialists don’t pay any attention to it, so David’s comment is really designed to send Conserv-a-Nutz on another fool’s errand. Typical.

    Of course, go ahead and read the Constitution if you want to. They don’t assign it in school anymore, and it’s no longer shelved on public libraries … so I hope folks who are interested can find a copy.

    • David Appell

      I’ve read the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. No where that I see does it specify a particular economic system. Can you show me where this occurs?

      Moreover, can you show me where it specifies a free-market system? And, if it does, can you explain to me how the massive subsidies given to the agriculture industries (~#200B/yr) for the last several decades are consistent with that?

      • Anonymous

        DA, I realize that you are a controversial political blogger, but are you really that dim? You don’t have to point to anything about a free market system in the Constitution. It is natural, as in natural rights; it comes before the law. It’s the normal way folks interact absent gov’t coercion.

        UNENUMERATED rights means that liberty is a presumption. What you should seek when looking at the Constitution is the specific ENUMERATION of federal authority. If the specific power ain’t there, the gov’t cannot act legally. The authorities have to either amend it — which is too heavy lifting — or get the Courts to rewrite it by ruling that something blatanly unconstitutional passes muster. They do that all the time. It’s called the Living Constitution.

        Now, take this short quiz before moving to the next lesson.

        Q: Where in the Constitution are the enumerated powers that permit the federal gov’t to:

        a) Own and operate an automobile company?
        b) Set the pay of non-government workers?
        c) Regulate the amount of energy a device can consume?
        d) Force workers to pay a 3rd party for political speech with which they disagree?

        • Max

          “You don’t have to point to anything about a free market system in the Constitution. It is natural, as in natural rights; it comes before the law. It’s the normal way folks interact absent gov’t coercion.”

          If that is true, then why is the norm of pre-constitutional law governments tribal cultures with communal economies? In fact I can’t think of a single “primitive” human culture that can be described as capitalist of free market. The natural economic state of people is arguably communism, not capitalism, which emerged much later in human social development.

          • Anonymous

            The norm of pre-constitutional legal systems was known as “Tyranny”. The period known as The Enlightenment saw the emergence of constitutional alternatives based on natural rights theory. Of course, to the extent we now live in the Post-Constitutional Era, we have reverted to ‘Tyranny’ once more. For proof, take a look at the percentage of your income and savings you pay in gov’t taxes and fees, and at how much the gov’t has borrowed and pledged to borrow under your name, that they have promised you will pay back.

          • Max

            If tens of thousands of years of pre-constitutional humanity lived in tyranny, then tyranny is our natural state and “natural rights” are a fiction. If we had such natural rights they would have manifested themselves long before someone thought to write them down.

            Government at all levels takes 31% of my normal monthly income. It is elected representatives acting under a written constitution who have decided to take that amount, in return providing: a national defense, old age pensions, health care to old folks, veterans, and some poor, highways, bridges, sewer and water systems, police, prisons, fire protection, parks, food inspection, transit, border patrols, building inspections, forest management, wildlife management, soil erosion control, hydroelectric power, a space program, education, and too many lesser services to list here.

            This is a tyranny? Methinks you have not traveled much my friend.

          • Anonymous

            Most folks are OK with 25%. If it was only 31% we’d probably be OK. Oppressed, but OK. But it’s far more than that. Whether you’re a renter or an owner, you’re coughing it up for property tax – about 1/20 the value of the property every year. You pay significant sales taxes on gasoline, telephone, travel, and other expenditures. You pay high fees for the use of gov’t services, for registering and operating a business, and in fines like late fees and traffic tickets. Various gov’ts at the local regional state and federal levels have also borrowed or pledged to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars on your behalf, having pledged your promise to repay. Oh, and, the cost of excess regulation is really a tax, insofar as it drives up the cost of things you purchase. And there is plenty of excess regulation. And the cost of lost freedom when gov’t edict either requires you to do something or bans you from doing it – even if it is of no harm to others. And the cost of wiping out your IRA savings because Fannie Freddie had to help ACORN out. And inflation — just printing more money for deficit spending wipes out the value of what you’ve saved. Help me out here. I’m probably missing a lot. It does go on and on. Unless you are wearing blinders.

          • Max

            I did leave out property taxes and the various user and service fees you cite. But user and service fees can usually be avoided by not using the service.

            I don’t know what the right amount to pay is. I know in Denmark they pay about 60% of their income on average, yet they live in a free nation, and the people there are the happiest on the planet according to surveys. Then you have China, which is a tyranny yet allows capitalism full reign and has very low taxes, very few services, and not very happy people.

            Fannie and Freddie helped Acorn? And that caused the entire banking system to collapse? I don’t think so.

          • Steve Buckstein

            Max, the reason you can’t think of a single “primitive” human culture that can be described as capitalist or free market is because the “natural economic state” of communism you mention is “primitive.” Trading freely with one another is how mankind has climbed out of poverty. Restricting trade, capitalism and free markets will only push more people back into poverty.

          • Max

            I’m not advocating communism or village/tribal culture. I’m questioning the premise that capitalism is the natural state of affairs for humans.

          • Steve Buckstein

            I do believe that, if left alone to interact in any peaceful way they wish, that it is natural for humans to interact in a capitalistic way, where both sides gain value in an economic transaction. For a psychological analysis of how capitalism is compatible with human nature, see:

            Capitalism and Human Nature

          • Max

            Maybe so. But is not natural for humans to be entirely left alone by other humans.

          • Steve Buckstein

            Of course humans are social beings. We interact in many ways with one another. When we trade goods and services with each other we are employing markets. As long as no force or fraud are involved, then each side generally gains value in market transactions.

            For example, if you’re selling a gallon of milk for $3 and I buy it, then you gain value because you want my $3 more than you want the milk. and I gain value because I want the milk more than I want to keep the $3.

          • Anonymous

            Do you mean to say that when folks work in exchange for pay, that is *not* an act of political oppression?

          • Steve Buckstein

            Not in any political system that Americans should accept.

  • hapypacy

    Good choice SB. This humor nails it. You know what they say about humor…it’s funny because of the it holds…and this one is very, very funny.

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