President Trump today invoked the Defense Production Act to compel auto maker General Motors to start producing ventilators to combat the COVID-19 virus. Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Marc Scribner blasted the move, warning against government strong-arming an industry and process it knows little about:
“President Trump’s decision to invoke the Defense Production Act to authorize the nationalization of General Motors is a counterproductive response to the coronavirus crisis. The Trump administration lacks an understanding of what automotive manufacturers produce or how they interact with their suppliers. Earlier today, President Trump indicated he did not know who owned the former GM Lordstown Complex.
“Many suppliers are also far better positioned than automotive original equipment manufacturers like GM to produce equipment such as ventilators. We strongly urge President Trump to reverse this dangerous and ill-considered decision and allow markets to continue to respond to this emergency.”
GM sold the Lordstown Complex last year, thus does not control whether ventilators are made there or not.