Bail out the auto industry? Freedom to fail.

The Detroit auto industry is crying very loudly that government bailouts are needed to save the industry. The problem is that aspects of the industry are doing just fine. These are cars such as Honda, Toyota, Mercedes, Nissan, and others, made in the USA by American workers (mostly in the South) that are thriving. Read very good article on this from WSJ here.

Why?

Could it be that the ones in the South are producing cars that people prefer? Is it possible that they actually made autos that saved their owners a lot of money recently when gas prices went over $4.00 a gallon? Are their (American) workers are more efficient?

I know this does not sound patriotic. Foreign-owned companies doing better than Amerrican? I should wash my mouth out with soap!

Truth be told, I am more patriotic than almost anyone I know. I am so patriotic I believe in tough love for those I love. I am a realist.

I honestly believe – now more than ever – that American businesspeople and entrepreneurs are fully capable of reinventing American industry WITHOUT the patronizing help of government, without bailouts and without a codependent dependency on a dole from Washington.

I also believe that businesses will not do that without the freedom to fail. Freedom to fail. That is right – it is an important part in the development of any person, family or business. It is part of the development of a school kid. We have to have failures. It is how we learn. I failed Chemistry the first quarter of tenth grade in High School. I brought the grade home to my father, a very influential engineer and scientist. His response – he bought me a slide rule and he taught me how to use it. He sat down and explained long formulas to me. Then he sent me back to work my *** off and succeed. I did. That failure became an important part of my development.

Detroit may need some failure experiences. They, and all other American businesses, do not need to be sheltered from the realities of life. If their cars or their efficiency are not up to par – they need to bleakly face it and either fix it so the market supports them or give way to those who can.

While I lived in Germany there was a lively debate about the German Autobahn, probably the world’s finest system of roads – and  no speed limit. They are engineering marvels. Porsches and Mercedes often cruise the system at 90-110 mph. They do it pretty safely and with a very strict driving ethos (unlike here).

The debate was about whether Germany should impose a speed limit on the Autobahn – in the interest of safety. It raged back and forth in Parliament for weeks, with the papers copiously reporting both sides of the question.

It was finally solved by one statement some delegate made. End of debate. Everyone silenced.

The statement?

“If we put speed limits on the autobahns, in 10 years we’ll be making cars as badly as the Americans do.”

That was 1980.

There is still no speed limit on the Autobahn.

One thought on “Bail out the auto industry? Freedom to fail.

  1. It’s about time someone said “be making cars as badly as the Americans do.”I was for so long the I will buy American only guy and then someone gave me a Nissan, the thing never did not start, it got over 300,000 miles on it and may still be going for all I know. The body fell apart but the engine kept going and going and going.I couldn’t believe it and now will never buy an American car.

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