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Anti-intuitive government guidance about cars

December 25, 2012
By Larry DeHays , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Intuition is sometimes described as common sense. Common sense is something that less educated people claim to have more of than educated people. Therefore we can assume (that word makes an ass out of U and me) that education decreases common sense. That explains why our educated government people (we're here to help you) keep doing things that seem anti-intuitive to us lower types. Let me explain.

In the 1960s and 1970s, cars were sometimes hard to start on cold mornings, but were easy to work on. Government mandated emission control devices be put on, which made them run worse and be harder to work on. People complained about the lousy running cars, so government mandated more emission controls and in the 80s required a light to tell you if the car was polluting (the check engine light). They ran even worse. They never have required a "running crappy" light, only a pollution light. There has only been one person in history that asked a mechanic to be sure his car wasn't polluting; that person's name has been lost. Two hundred million people have asked to get it running better, and to stick the emission equipment up congress's tail pipe if possible. There is a limit to our mechanical abilities. We like to say that the impossible will take a little longer, and cost extra.

Throughout the 90s and 2000s (how are you supposed to say that?), American car quality sank and prices increased until it finally folded in on itself. Crash. Government took our money from us (taxes) and paid the car companies to keep doing it to us. Our common sense (intuition, remember?) told us to hang on to our old cars and nurse them through until we could afford better. Government decided to trash useable older cars (cash for clunkers) to force us to buy new, using the money we didn't have because we had been laid off. What the heck, we don't need money. Credit is easy. Wait, isn't that what caused the crash? Well, that's what educated people tell us, and what do they know? It sounds like they're telling us overextending caused the problem, and overextending will fix the problem. I'm glad someone else is in charge, because I'm confused.

When you're personally broke, over extended on credit and limited on income, common sense tells you to cut back on spending, do without, tighten your belt and tough it out. But only after buying a flat screen to sit home and watch. Government economists say we have to increase spending to stimulate the economy, and we'll all live happily ever after. They do it by rolling chicken bones or reading tea leaves. Decaf tea. Caffeinated tea might wake them up. Then they could cause more damage.

The people who caused this financial meltdown are either in jail or on their own Bahama island sipping a cocktail. If I sound grumpy it's because I like the Bahamas. And cocktails. And I don't like what they did to us, and I don't think they should have gotten away with it. I think much more government money should be spent tracking them down and recovering the wealth from them. It makes me grumpy.



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