by Russ Roberts on March 30, 2009

in Man of System

 It's worse than I thought. I hope to go over this in more detail but here are the President's remarks on the auto industry. Horrifying. One low light:

It is my hope that the steps I am announcing today will go a long
way towards answering many of the questions people may have about the
future of GM and Chrysler. But just in case there are still nagging
doubts, let me say it as plainly as I can — if you buy a car from
Chrysler or General Motors, you will be able to get your car serviced
and repaired, just like always. Your warrantee will be safe.

fact, it will be safer than it's ever been. Because starting today, the
United States government will stand behind your warrantee.

There are many other scary things in the speech. The pronoun "my" appears way too often. Zero would be the right number. Adam Smith, where are you?

man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own
conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own
ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation
from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all
its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the
strong prejudices which may oppose it. He seems to imagine that he can
arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as
the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not
consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle
of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in
the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a
principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which
the legislature might chuse to impress upon it. If those two principles
coincide and act in the same direction, the game of human society will
go on easily and harmoniously, and is very likely to be happy and
successful. If they are opposite or different, the game will go on
miserably, and the society must be at all times in the highest degree
of disorder.

Tell your children what's going on so they will know there is another view when 20 years from now they're told that the collapse of the auto industry and all that went wrong in its aftermath obviously proves that markets don't work and we can't rely on private
decisions motivated by profits.


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