Boycotting Solipstocracy: Government by the Unitary Self

“From the beginning, I made it clear that I would not put any more tax dollars on the line if it meant perpetuating the bad business decisions that had led these companies to seek help in the first place,” he said. “I refused to let these companies become permanent wards of the state, kept afloat on an endless supply of taxpayer money. In other words, I refused to kick the can down the road.”
To prevent GM from becoming a ward of the state, Obama made it the property of the state.
“I decided then,” said the first person in chief, “that if GM and their stakeholders were willing to sacrifice for their companies’ survival … then the United States government would stand behind them.”
Here, I, Barack virtually identified himself with the United States government.

There you have just five of the “I”s that Terence Jeffrey counted in President Obama’s speech about his administration’s takeover of GM. Jeffrey goes on to ask an important question:

He did not say he would ask Congress to enact legislation to provide the executive with the funds needed to purchase 60 percent of GM or with the legal authority to restructure the company and oversee its business plan.
He said: “I decided then … the United States government would stand behind them.”
Remember: In December, Congress specifically declined to enact legislation authorizing the president to bail out the auto industry–let alone to purchase an auto company. What law now gives Obama authority to buy General Motors? The White House says, when pressed, it is the Troubled Asset Relief Program. But that legislation was written specifically to allow the Treasury Department to purchase assets from “financial institutions.” It says nothing about buying auto companies.

Ever since I began my all-too-American aggregation of debt with the purchase of a brand new Pontiac Grand Am GT on a fish huckster’s wage, I’ve owned GM automobiles. Each time I’ve bought one, I’ve had a few thousand dollars worth of points from my GM credit card. Unless Ford or some Japanese automaker begins accepting those points, I’m afraid they’ll be going to waste; I can’t in good conscience support the machinations of a president who pats himself on the back for “deciding” that and how “stakeholders” in a private company should “sacrifice.”

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Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

I currently drive a 3+ year old Jeep.
I now fully intend this to be the last UAW assembled vehicle I ever buy.
The GM / Chrysler bailouts are in reality taxpayer-funded UAW bailouts.
Since via the coercive force of the federal government I will now be contributing to the UAW on a regular basis, an involuntary basis, I see no reason to voluntarily give them more money.
What this President has done for the UAW is shocking and abhorrent to anyone who believes in the Constitution of the United States and the rule of law.
Therefore going forward patriotic Americans should boycott UAW assembled vehicles.

Pragmatist
Pragmatist
12 years ago

The more you write, Justin, the more clear it is that your efforts are not honest efforts to debate policy. Your purpose here is to create an online persona, the iconoclastic conservative. You can’t bring yourself to concede that the president, Democrats, or liberals ever have any useful ideas. Are those who you disagree with always motivated by a desire to drive the country towards socialism? Are the ends they sought always destined to end western civilization as we know it? Are conservatives ever wrong?
You are very much like a talk radio host. Like them, your arguments are meant for the echo chamber, not a real search for the right answer. You play to your crowd. They clap. You repeat, never changing the script.

Phil
Phil
12 years ago

Therefore going forward patriotic Americans should boycott UAW assembled vehicles.- TomW
And if that doesn’t work you could stamp your feet and hold your breath.

Justin Katz
12 years ago

Believe what you want, Pragmatist; I can only assert that my method is simply to share items that I find interesting and to try to say something interesting about them. It’s a part-time gig squeezed into free moments, so of course I’m limited in what I can do.
As for whether everybody with whom I disagree lusts for socialism: no. The vast majority are, I believe, simply wrong. Most find their motivation in worthwhile intentions, such as helping people, and don’t give adequate consideration to the consequences. Some are actually persuaded that handing problems to the government is a plausible strategy for fixing them. But they’d be quite honest to tell you that they desire freedom and democracy.
As for conservatives’ being wrong, of course they are. But again, it’s a rather specific question that denies easy generalities. Conservative in what respect? On what policies? Wrong as a matter of policy, temperament, or what? Just because something is labeled “conservative” doesn’t make it correct, but the way a conservative will argue against it will typically be to call it the wrong policy for conservatives to pursue.

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>And if that doesn’t work you could stamp your feet and hold your breath.
And if that doesn’t work, I can always start parading around in a duck costume, or hang around next to inflatable rats, like a certain RI union official we know. 🙂
Boycotting UAW vehicles will have some effect at the margin – just like the efforts of some Rhode Islanders to shop as much as possible in lower sales-taxed MA, and thus deprive the band of thieves at the General Assembly at least some of the fuel necessary to run their corruption machine.
Think globally, act locally, right?
To put it another way, what would John Galt do? Refrain from supporting the parasitic class by (wherever feasible) refraining from subsidizing their machine, i.e., not purchase UAW assembled vehicles.

OldTimeLefty
12 years ago

Since the root word is “solipsism”, shouldn’t the phrase be solipsocracy? Where did the “t” come from?
OldTimeLefty
P.S. I’m with Pragmatist all the way on this one.

OldTimeLefty
12 years ago

Tom W,
Extend your GM ban (you call it a labor bailout) to business bailouts like banks (US bailout of banks) and insurance companies (US bail out of AIG) and you might show consistency rather than ignorant prejudice.
OldTimeLefty

Justin Katz
12 years ago

The “t” strengthens the rhythm of the word and mildly evokes “aristocracy.” It’s a coinage, not a scientific term.
As for the bank comparison, while I don’t have any accounts with AIG, I’d suggest that there are substantial differences between the forms of the two categories of bailout, although I’ve opposed both.

JP
JP
12 years ago

Tom, I agree that the UAW desrves the lion’s share of blame for the dysfunctional US auto industry, but they’re still American citizens and until Ford starts stealing our money like GM and Chrysler I think we should support their products (and jobs) rather than their overseas competetors. It gives me no pleasure to see an American, unemployed..that’s just me.
What I’d like to know is, now that we’ve indebted ourselves another 30 billion dollars or whatever to China to “bailout” GM and Chrysler only to come to the same result Republican leaders were advocating for from the beginning, where is the “whoops, my bad” from Dems?

JP
JP
12 years ago

Tom, I agree that the UAW desrves the lion’s share of blame for the dysfunctional US auto industry, but they’re still American citizens and until Ford starts stealing our money like GM and Chrysler I think we should support their products (and jobs) rather than their overseas competetors. It gives me no pleasure to see an American, unemployed..that’s just me.
What I’d like to know is, now that we’ve indebted ourselves another 30 billion dollars or whatever to China to “bailout” GM and Chrysler only to come to the same result Republican leaders were advocating for from the beginning, where is the “whoops, my bad” from Dems?

Russ
Russ
12 years ago

Ever since I began my all-too-American aggregation of debt with the purchase of a brand new Pontiac Grand Am GT on a fish huckster’s wage, I’ve owned GM automobiles. Each time I’ve bought one, I’ve had a few thousand dollars worth of points from my GM credit card. Unless Ford or some Japanese automaker begins accepting those points, I’m afraid they’ll be going to waste; I can’t in good conscience support the machinations of a president who pats himself on the back for “deciding” that and how “stakeholders” in a private company should “sacrifice.”

Whoops, six I’s! And then six more I’s in the response to Pragmatist (notably with zero I’s). I see “I, Justin” likes talking about himself!

Justin Katz
12 years ago

Thank you, Russ, for the opportunity to remind readers that the president was speaking about public policy as the elected leader of an administration that stands as one of three coequal branches of government. I’m flattered, of course, that you implicitly hold my blog ruminations to be within the same category as his prepared remarks, but it’s likely that folks on both sides of the aisle will think that your expectations for Mr. Obama are significantly too low.

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>>Extend your GM ban (you call it a labor bailout) to business bailouts like banks (US bailout of banks) and insurance companies (US bail out of AIG) and you might show consistency rather than ignorant prejudice. I opposed the bank bailouts as well, and have no problem boycotting firms that received TARP funds (don’t have accounts with any, so it’s moot other than going forward). That said, the GM-Chrysler-UAW situation is even worse, since the Obama administration muscled aside secured creditors and handed the proceeds to the unsecured UAW. Real banana republic stuff. And it’s going to sting – this administration has just sent a message to the world that the rule of law no longer rules here, and that your capital is likely to be safer invested elsewhere. I read somewhere (Bloomberg online?) that lenders are already demanding higher interest rates from unionized companies (and /or non-union companies within industries with high union density) to help offset the increased risk of politically driven nationalization and forfeit of property to government / political whim. >>Tom, I agree that the UAW desrves the lion’s share of blame for the dysfunctional US auto industry, but they’re still American citizens and until Ford starts stealing our money like GM and Chrysler I think we should support their products (and jobs) rather than their overseas competetors. It gives me no pleasure to see an American, unemployed..that’s just me. We can support American workers without supporting the parasitic UAW that has now attached itself to every taxpayers paycheck. BMW, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and KIA all have built factories in the U.S. and are employing Americans to assemble cars. And they don’t have to cut quality in order to try to offset the costs introduced by the UAW’s featherbedding, work rules, grievances, strikes… Read more »

Russ
Russ
12 years ago

I didn’t even vote for the guy (OK, I voted for him the primary… you’d prefer Clinton?). Just commenting on how silly it is to analyze a speech in that fashion, especially given the overt claims of power made by the Bush administration on the use of signing statements, torture, or warrantless spying that went without comment from the right (my apologies to the libertarians out there who are with me on this one).

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