As the master of malaprops, Yogi Berra, once said:
This is like deja vu all over again.
I guess it isn’t enough to pull out all the old books which tackled the realities around the Great Depression and FDR’s New Deal versus the commonly held myths.
It now looks like the time to also pull out the decades-old books on the fallacies of industrial policy:
A proposed government “car czar” would oversee any bailout of U.S. automakers under terms being negotiated by the White House and Congress for extending billions in emergency loans to the auto giants, Reuters reported.
Sources familiar with the plan for oversight by an official within the executive branch said Saturday conditions were not final as Democratic leaders and the White House tried to cut a deal.
One leadership aide said both sides favored creation of a “car czar” role to ensure proposed conditions were met, Reuters reported. The funds are designed to last until March, giving the incoming Obama administration and the new Congress time to consider the issue anew.
Racing to seal a deal with the White House, Democratic congressional leaders dispatched aides Saturday to draft an emergency $15 billion aid package to pull Detroit’s Big Three automakers from the brink of collapse…
Still, with Washington spooked by massive job losses that provided the latest evidence of a deepening recession, the White House said it was in “constructive discussions” with lawmakers in both parties on the assistance. House and Senate Democratic staff aides worked through the weekend to hammer out details, with votes on the plan expected in the week ahead.
The emerging measure would speed short-term help to General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC, while empowering the government to order a wholesale restructuring of the industry and imposing tight restrictions on the Big Three, according to congressional officials and others close to the talks…
Does anybody old enough to know any history appreciate the irony that these politicians are pursuing government-driven industrial policy – like the Japanese advocated decades ago – while Japanese auto companies have moved beyond that and are now profitability producing vehicles here in the USA in a way which cleans Detroit’s economic clock?
As Santayana wrote back in 1905:
Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. In the first stage of life the mind is frivolous and easily distracted, it misses progress by failing in consecutiveness and persistence. This is the condition of children and barbarians, in which instinct has learned nothing from experience.