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You've probably heard the phrase: "As goes GM, so goes America." Here is the one thing: If that phrase is still true, brace yourself for mediocrity!
I don't know about you, but when I woke up this morning, I was thinking, "You know what would be great? If government got into the car business."
Well, as luck would have it, when GM files for bankruptcy Monday, America, you're the proud new 70 percent owners of GM. Congratulations!
It only took $20 billion in bailout cash and at least another 50 billion taxpayer dollars, but wait until you see the cars created by the entrepreneurial spirit of the federal government.
Oh, and more exciting news: Your brand new business partners — the ones who will own 20 percent of GM — the United Autoworkers Union. The federal government and a giant union will own 90 percent of GM — there's a recipe for success, huh?
Obama's economic adviser Christina Romer thinks it is too:
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CHRISTINA ROMER, CHAIR OF PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: This is not the bankruptcy where things are liquidated and the firm disappears. This is always just a step toward a healthy company.
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Now, some would say, if bankruptcy was the way to go, why didn't we start there, instead of all the bailouts? But just think of the amazing cars the government will produce — especially since they want every car to get 35 miles per gallon.
They don't want you to use too much gas or listen to the hate speech on talk radio. That's going to be one sweet ride: About the size of a golf cart; no radio and it'll be hot-looking because it'll be designed by a committee in Congress.
What are we doing? America did not become great by having government run business. Doing that will only drag us down into — at best — mediocrity.
Henry Ford said, "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently." And you might never have heard of Henry Ford if he had given up when his Detroit automobile company failed at the turn of the last century. But he didn't give up and ask for government assistance. He reached inside of himself and produced a car that more than half of all Americans were driving by 1918.
Didn't his success cause a lot of failure? Should the government have bailed out the horse and buggy industry to save all the jobs of the blacksmiths, oats companies and pooper scoopers?
No. They didn't beg for regulation or a bailout.
In fact, the leading manufacturer of horse-drawn vehicles didn't give up or whine about it; he decided that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. William Durant founded a company in Flint, Michigan, that you may have heard of: It's called GM.
Don't buy into the lie that government has to save struggling industries. If they bailed out Durant's horse and buggy company, there would be no GM we're trying to bail out today.
No one is too big to fail — no one. Let capitalism work. If there's a need for some product, there will be an entrepreneur who meets that need.
These struggling industries are failing for a reason. Propping them up and rewarding them for their failure will only leave us with a bunch of crappy companies. Business needs to keep up with the times on their own dime — if they can't cut it, too bad. Let them fail.
America will be better off, in the long run, without the buggy whip — paid for, designed and built with taxpayer dollars.
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