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OpenMarket: Labor and Employment

  • Deregulatory Bailout

    December 12, 2008
    There are hundreds of regulations that Congress and agencies have imposed on the auto industry, driving up their costs unnecessarily. As an illustration, these are the new rules from the DOT identified by Wayne Crews in the 2008 edition of Ten Thousand Commandments: – Reform of the automobile fuel economy standards program. – Light-truck Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (2012 model years and beyond). – Upgrade of head restraints in vehicles. – Rear center lap and shoulder belt requirement. – Monitoring systems for improved tire safety and tire pressure. – Automotive regulations for car lighting, door retention, brake hoses, daytime running-light glare, and side impact protection. Plus these from the EPA: – Rulemaking to address greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. – Clean air visibility,...
  • Auto Bailout - Destroying Detroit by 'saving' it

    December 11, 2008
    In a famous quotation from his 1986 address to the annual White House Conference on Small Business, President Ronald Reagan quipped that "government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." The Detroit bailout bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last night -- agreed to by the White House and Democratic leaders but at this point apparently without enough Republican support to survive a filbuster in the Senate -- is unique in that it fulfills all three of the government actions Reagan describes in one fell swoop. All it once it not only subsidizes U.S. automakers, it subjects them to heavy regulation as well...
  • Claim of consumers' fear of auto bankruptcy a canard in bailout debate

    December 8, 2008
    Eli, in answer to the blog post you phrased as a question, the argument from the individual you heard, echoed by other Big 3 execs, is not a valid point in support of a bailout. Their claim that consumers won't buy from an automaker in bankruptcy is a specious argument. Yes, some won't, but many consumers also are not going to buy cars from companies perceived to be so weak that they have to beg for a bailout from the government. A company's clutching to a government lifeline to keep from going bankrupt wouldn't be that much different for many car buyers than an actual bankruptcy. This is particularly true if the government forces the companies, as a condition of the bailout, to make "environmentally correct" cars that no one really wants. A company emerging from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, by...
  • DeLorean disproves domsayers in debate over auto bankruptcies

    November 28, 2008
    In the debate about bailing out the Big 3 automakers, it is said that we just can't allow a bankruptcy. Despite the fact that Chapter 11 bankruptcies have taken place for retailers such as Circuit City and many airlines such as U.S. Airways, autos are said to be different because of the duration of time that people hold on to their cars for. Horrific senarios are painted of consumers not being able to get parts for their automobiles if manufacturers are no longer in existence. But of all the many admittedly complicated aspects of a bankruptcy of General Motors (the company the Congressional hearings established was in the most trouble), these consumer issues provide the least reason for worry. In a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, GM would most likely be reorganized into a new company, sans the current management and heavy costs. This is something that has proved impossible so far due to lax...
  • The Least Objectionable Legislator Award

    November 19, 2008
    My occasional "Least Objectionable Legislator Award" today goes to Michele Bachmann (R-MN) for a solid statement at today's hearings on the Bailout on Wheels, otherwise known as the House Financial Services Committee Hearing on "Stabilizing the Financial Condition of the American Automobile Industry." From the statement:
    It's only appropriate that we again total the taxpayers' current bailout tab: $29 billion for Bear Stearns, $200 billion for Fannie and Freddie, $300 billion to expand the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), $150 billion for AIG, and $700 billion for the Paulson Plan -- plus $110 billion in sweeteners to pass that plan. Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke chose to start this bailout mania over eight months ago. Since then, the American people have been told over and...
  • The Regulatory President

    November 10, 2008
    Why bother getting elected officials' votes when you can accomplish your purposes by presidential fiat? An article in yesterday's Washington Post reveals just what the future will look like under the new president.
    The president-elect has said, for example, that he intends to quickly reverse the Bush administration's decision last December to deny California the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles...California had sought permission from the Environmental Protection Agency to require that greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles be cut by 30 percent between 2009 and 2016, effectively mandating that cars achieve a fuel economy standard of...
  • Virginia Legislators Throw Principles Away in Transportation Deal

    July 9, 2008
    Virginia's legislature is trying to raise money for transportation needs.  But Virginia legislators of both parties are giving up economically sensible principles they once followed, in the foolish pursuit of so-called "bipartisanship."  The resulting "bipartisan" deal is worse than what either Democrats or Republicans came up with separately, and seems to confirm the aphorism that "bipartisanship is the marriage of evil and stupidity." The Senate's Democratic majority had supported a state gas tax increase.  It might not have been the wisest idea to raise taxes in an troubled economy that is barely growing at all (especially since the state budget has grown enormously in recent years), but at least the gas tax falls on those who actually use the roads, and makes those who benefit from...
  • Video: Railroaded in Denver

    April 21, 2008
    The Independence Institute just sent an email alerting us to a new video they produced on Denver's local transportation authority and its history of violating citizens' property rights. Daniel Gallegos tells the story of what happened to his family and their property in the 1980s, and warns other Denver residents of what may be coming as the city's Regional Transportation District expands its light rail lines.

    Binary Data
    ...
  • Crazy Immigration Rules Revisited

    March 27, 2008
    Earlier, I wrote about how immigration authorities were poised to deport Saman Kareem Ahmad because he belonged to a group that rose up against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who was ousted by American troops.  They claimed his opposition to the Iraqi government during "Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom" made him a terrorist! Other immigrants deemed "terrorists" by immigration authorities "include U.S. allies that fought against" the "...
  • $1 a Year Man

    August 7, 2007
    Chrsysler, has hired former Home Depot CEO Robert Nardelli to run the now-private, once-again-American-owned automaker. Nardelli, of course, did a good job at Home Depot but left after six years when its stock price started to sink. At Chrysler, it's reported, he's getting what I think corporate boards should make the base salary for the CEOs of almost all public companies: $1 plus potential enormous bonuses if the company does well. Chrysler may have the least certain future of any really large American company and the fact that it can get a top-quality CEO on this basis shows that other companies can do the same. Unlike John, I do think that CEO pay is something of a scandal. (Although I really don't have any quarrel...

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