The Crazy Thing Trump Could Do . . .

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Borrowing – bowdlerizing – a line from Shakespeare: First thing we do, let’s kill all the regulators.

Well, maybe not kill them.

Firing them would be enough.

Or even just threatening them with being fired.

Like on Trump’s Apprentice reality show – except for real. Because now it’s President Trump – or soon will be. And if The Donald, as he likes to style himself, intends to make America great again, the best way to do that is to put Americans back to work again. And the best way to put them back to work is to get the regulatory apparat off their backs.

It is hard to do anything in this country anymore except pay taxes – which fund the regulatory apparat.

Henry Ford would likely never have made his Model T – or any of the preceding models – if he’d had to deal with the DOT and EPA. Let alone OSHA. Most people have no idea that it is necessary to destroy a dozen or more cars in crash tests to establish compliance with federal side-impact, offset barrier and roof crush mandatory minimums before one may legally sell a single car. This alone amounts to hundreds of thousand of dollars in costs. A huge corporation can afford this (and can write it off, too).

A latter-day Henry Ford just starting out can’t.

Which is why there aren’t any latter-day Henry Fords. Or at least, none whose names we know. Their efforts – if they haven’t give up – are confined to tinkering that never goes beyond their own garages.

Because if they tried to sell anything not Uncle-approved, they’d risk being SWAT teamed. This happens to little girls selling lemonade curbside, because it’s illegal to do it without the government’s permission ( which of course also costs money).

It’s even worse when it comes to making cars. And has been, for a long time.

The last time someone tried and almost got away with it was just after World War II, when Preston Tucker had an idea for a better Model T. His car was just as revolutionary in its own way as the T had been some 40 years earlier.

And interestingly enough, it touted – wait for it – safety. Decades before the government – according to the Official Fairy Tale – intervened to make sure we had it, because the evil car companies wouldn’t offer it otherwise.

Like most fairy tales, this one’s make-believe, too.

The Tucker pioneered such things as shatterproof windshield glass and a roof that could support the weight of the car in the event of a rollover; it even had a headlight that tracked with the wheels in the curves, something not offered again until recently and without Uncle jabbing his regulatory bayonet into anyone’s backside.

The Tucker was a brilliant car – perhaps too brilliant. Enter Uncle. Arm and arm with GM – which at the time controlled almost 50 percent of the entire U.S. car market (Chevrolet alone had a market share around 25 percent – more than all of GM’s remaining divisions combined enjoy today). The company was targeted for having committed all kinds of regulatory sins – and quickly crushed.

You may have seen the movie.

Things are much worse today. The regulatory apparat has consolidated its power and now micromanages and decrees almost every aspect of vehicle design and – Trade Secret – the established players are in on it. They have embraced the regulatory apparat.

For two reasons:

First, it makes them money. Every cost added by government is passed on to car buyers, plus mark-up. You didn’t think (as an example) that air bags and so on are added at “cost” … did you? There is big money to be made, both up front and down the road. The car costs you more to buy – and it costs you more to fix. Which, by the way, is also why it costs you more to insure. Yes, they (the insurance mafia) are in on the con, too.

Second – and this may be even more important to them – it inures them from upstart competition; from having to sweat latter-day Henry Ford like Preston Tucker and who-knows-who else (whose names we’ll never know, because of the opportunity cost of the regulatory apparat).

If Tucker himself were alive today and decided to have another go at it, he would have to destroy almost his entire initial production run of cars (he made about 51) before the government would allow him to sell any of them. No small start-up can afford this.

Which is why there aren’t any.

This includes Elio, incidentally. The company that’s been developing a low-cost three-wheeler… or trying to. The car is actually developed. The problem is it’s not Uncle approved. Which means it can’t be sold.

Trump could fix this at the stroke of a pen. Or, rather, by calling a press conference.

He could tell the assembled: I can find nothing in the Constitution giving the Congress – much less an unelected bureaucracy that never received any mandate from the voters – legal power to dictate how cars ought to be made. This is something for the market to determine, based on the votes of the buying public’s dollars.

Is it that such outlandish an idea?

Trump is president because he is outlandish. Hew could be a great president by being outlandish. Which in these Red Giant days of the empire, would be to weigh-in for the liberties of ordinary people to buy what they want, not what Uncle tells them they must have.

Whether does so will tell us a great deal about the man and what he actually stands for. Will he side with the established players – who have gone over to the Dark Side and embraced the regulatory apparat? Or will he do the unthinkable and let the market work – and buyers decide?

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53 COMMENTS

  1. Trump is just window dressing, as is every president these days. The fundamental direction of the population is towards more control, more bureaucracy, and less individualism. Happens all all the time.
    Just a few words about some of the above discussions.
    Tariffs-always bad, hurts trade and hurts competition which is the only thing that protects consumers from high prices and crap products.

    Inflation/deflation- For over a century, money in America grew in value, slowly. Financial panics were caused by either war, natural disaster, or by central bank experiments. Saving money meant growing wealth, and a $5 gold piece made in 1800 was worth a bit more in 1900. Enter the welfare state and central banking. In my lifetime a $5 bill has been inflated to $31! Worth six times less. In just 46 years. Today, its stupid to save money. As long as our economy is based on funny money, nothing else really matters at all. Nothing.

    EPA-Nothing matters as long as the pop of the earth increases. Nothing. The cleanest countries, with a large population, are the freest ones. Private property is the cleanest property.

    Safety- anything the government does for safety, can be done better and cheaper by private industry IF customers are allowed to sue business. It’s self-regulating and has worked for many years. The government is there to protect major companies from: competition, lawsuits, bad press, lower prices, lower profits. The government is a tool of big business, that is ALL the government ever has been from day 1 in this country.

    Trump is dangerous. He is dangerous because his election gives unfounded hope to many like-minded folks who think we can elect reformers to reverse the direction of our empire. That is a pipe dream, and always has been. A rotten system cannot fix itself, and the American public is rotten. Trump is not the answer, he will not accomplish any fundamental change in the system, just window dressing. Fundamentally, the people of America love government, love big government, and will continue to support government schools, government military, government healthcare, government retirement, and government welfare.
    Get used to it.

    • The powers that be want to punish savers because it is not stupid to save money. Savings means not being dependent on a constant income to live. The powers that be use inflation not only to steal for their own benefit but to encourage people to live hand-to-mouth. Debt serves the same purpose. The emerging rental economy is another thing towards that end.

      Accepting the hit of inflation is still better than being dependent. This is what the powers that be have not understood about their ZIRP and NIRP policies. The reaction of savers world wide was not to spend but to save more. Because they aren’t earning interest they spend even less. This has left Keynesian economists baffled. They have simply no understanding of the reality other people live in.

      So we are supposed to put our savings in the stock market. The problem with the stock market is that it is set up so we buy high and sell low. Through the boom-bust cycles and the various fees and taxes most ordinary people it seems end up with what they would have had through disciplined saving. Maybe less. Now those who get lucky or know what they are doing end up doing well, but they have to see the busts coming and buy low.

      • Hi Brent,

        Very well-said, as usual!

        I have always held that the single wisest move, financially, a person can make is to buy a home. Not pay a mortgage. Have a paid-for home. And a paid-for car.

        Eliminate the monthly rent/mortgage/car payment and all of a sudden you find you can live on a pretty modest amount of money. You have utilities and food as your main expenses and these can be managed to just a few hundred dollars a month. If you lose your job, a part-time job will usually be sufficient to pay for everyday expenses. And you will have a place to live and a car to drive.

        But if you have to come up with $1,000 a month for rent/mortgage plus another several hundred for the car payment, you need to bring in at least $4,000 a month, gross, just to keep up. Most people are not keeping up.

        I read somewhere that most Americans have less than $10,000 net worth and a huge number no net worth at all.

        • You said it, Eric! I’ve always only paid cash for my vehicles; and bought my home outright when I was 39- and life is sweet, on very little money, and I am as free as one can be in this world these days.

          Of course “they” do EVERYTHING within their power to ensure that people can’t be like this. They make it easy for kids to amass huge debts early in life by accumulating student debt so they can go to college and learn how to be collectivists.

          They make it so that cars are so complex and burdened with 18 different emission controls and 30 different high-tech “safety” features, that there will be no such thing thing as a cheap old used car soon, because even if the body and drivetrain hang-in there, all the other crap will deteriorate, and is just to expensive to fix; etc.

          Everything is made to be used for a year or two and then thrown away. Forget about passing stuff down to the next generation- it’s either broken or obsolete before your wife can pop the kid out!

          I refuse to live that way. Almost everything i own is old. My big Milwaukee drill which someone rescued from a scrap metal place, is from the 1950’s. I drive a ’99 and an ’00. I have an old corded Trimline phone right here on my desk, bought on Ebay when I needed a new phone- probably from the 80’s. (Lady at the electric company when I called to report an outage: “How is your landline phone still working?” -true story!)

          Not only is this a very inexpensive and free way to live….but it is WONDERFUL! The quality of life it imparts, and the feeling of dealing with things in your everyday life which are substantial, and built to last, and of quality, is just something that everyone seems to be missing these days.

          If someone were to maliciously destroy all of my possessions, some fool judge would just look at it as “old junk”. It’s kind of appropriate that many people today refer to their possessions as their “shit”- because that’s usually what it is.

    • Hi Tor,

      For me, it is the collapse of WTC 7 – the third building, rarely mentioned – that is dispositive evidence that the Official Story is false.

      We are told the twin towers collapsed because they were hit by large jets, the impact undermining the structure and blowing off insulation that would have protected the structural beams from the heat of an intense fire; that a jet-fuel-fed fire then weakened the steel such that it failed. The upper floors then pancaked down, etc.

      But not one of those factors applied to WTC7, which neatly – symmetrically – collapsed straight down, at free-fall speed, onto its own footprint – despite not being hit by airplanes and not having been doused with jet fuel.

      The collapse of WTC7 is rarely mentioned by the media and most Americans seem to be unaware that a third building collapsed that day.

      This is so for a very good reason.

      While the collapse of the twin towers for the reasons given seems fishy when you really look at, the collapse of WTC7 stinks to hell; it cannot be ignored – like a steaming pile of fresh shit in the living room.

      The Pentagon story doesn’t hold up, either.

      • And commissioned by the New York port authority (Uncle’s little brother), built using cheap Japanese steel, by mob labor in late 1960-1970s New York City. Sharing a common basement structure/parking lot with the twin towers. Why does the truther story seem to think government is horrible for everything but perfectly willing to accept that it can properly manage construction projects?

        Do I think there’s something fishy about the accepted story? Sure. And I know there’s a lot of stuff that no one will ever be told about. But what the 9/11 truthers get wrong is that they were terrible buildings with a dubious design.

      • I’ve probably stated this before….

        When they explain WTC7 they say it was debris from the towers. But they do not show WTC 3,4,5,and 6. Why? Because they got pounded by debris and fires and were heavily damaged but _standing_ at the end of the day. Their damage is exactly what one would expect. Huge hunks taken out, charred and beat up, but standing.

        They also want to ignore the construction of WTC7. WTC7 was cantilevered over an electrical substation. This means that just about all possibilities of structural failure cause the building to fall over in the direction of the cantilever. For fire and debris to randomly take out just the right parts of the structure to bring the building down straight and inwards is simply coincidence theory on steroids.

        The entire government story is simply an amazing tale that if the official story were not official but something someone came up with outside of authority it would be ripped to shreds.

      • JP6 or any other fuel wouldn’t cause it to fail anyway.I do
        certified welding inspections, and was in the fuel buisness for a 30+.No way steel structure narrative adds up, even close!!

        Why doesn’t your Barbecuer collapse every time you have some Bovine festivities ?

  2. The war on non-prescription drugs is fought to protect offshore drug companies growing opium in India and coca in South America.

    American farmers should grow all our legal crop derived drugs. American factories should produce all our synthetic drugs.

    Every city can have it’s own drug farming district. And drug synthesizing industrial district.

    This goes for entertainment, clothing, communication, transportation and every other major market category.

    One thing that makes us slaves is each community lacks self-sufficiency. When you rely on huge companies bigger than your whole town, of course you are going to be tyrannized.

    Why not Roanoke Acres. And Roanoke Industrial Zone. Go back to the city-state model. Each city is sovereign and self-reliant. Local taxes are tariffs on outside the region produced goods.

  3. There are so many things the government could do, or better yet, NOT do to increase the economy and increase employment. Up to this point, it’s been extremely unwilling to do so. In fact its getting even worse. It’s done more lately to insure that employed people don’t get raises etc. Most people in the private sector have gone more then a decade without a real raise. The Obama regime has been extremely bad when it comes to screwing the employed as much as the unemployed. All the money that would have been direct raises (or new hires) for employees instead goes towards taxes, regulation, and healthcare costs.

    Government actions are the cause of almost every job that gets shipped out.

    I hope Trump can do somethings to stem that. However, we have to keep our expectations kind of low, as we should for any politician. If he thinks trade can be regulated via tariff forever, we are screwed. Trade is not bad. It’s just that our trade “agreements” doesn’t do the regular person (or smaller companies) in the US any good. In the long run its bad for our trading partners as well. Someday we won’t be a large market anymore if things continue on the current path. Then they are screwed as well as selling to poor people isn’t much of a business plan.

    Those lousy trade agreements are magnified by our lousy corporate tax structure too. Taxes are likely the biggest killer of manufacturing. Business to business taxes drive up costs and get buried in the price so no one knows the cost, but that cost is high.

    Then the many many regulations that there are. Some that you don’t know that exist until OSHA fines you for it. I once had an employer get fined over drawers that were left standing open. Drawers that got left open because people were using them all day long. So they had to be either opened and closed all day long (noisy), or what happened was we got rid of the file cabinet and put them in open containers (which wouldn’t surprise me if they violated fire codes in some places). It’s all this little bullshit that tie business people down. Death by a thousand cuts. You wouldn’t believe how much time I spent when working as a real estate agent on making sure I wasn’t violating some stupid rule. There are so many of them, and you never know when your going to be targeted by some government drone. And once your on their radar, forget about it.

    If the government was serious about the economy and employment they would get rid of employment taxes, business to business taxes, slim rules down to the very basics. Until it does those things, and only eats away at the edges of all this crap, the economy will continue to be anchored for no reason.

    And this bullshit of government as a business “partner” has got to stop. I don’t need a dead weight partner. Government is never a “partner”, just get it out of the way.

        • And the unadulterated truth is a UL logo simply means money was paid and accepted with the truth taking a hind teat. Countless things that are not safe have a UL logo. Even the MSM went after them decades ago and nothing has changed.

          Make out a check to me for a quarter mil and send me some of your cord caps. I’ll test them till I find an amperage they can live with continuously and then give you the right(that you paid for)to slap that logo on said cord cap. Chip in a few more thou and I’ll pass some more of your junk. I’ll pay a few chippies in the MSM to write great things about the veracity of my testing and we’ll all be happy.

          • Eight, UL does not operate that way. UL has their tests and standards which are based around failures that would be dangerous to the end user. A product that is piece of crap but breaks in a way that won’t hurt someone or start a fire is generally acceptable under UL standards.

            • UL was caught long ago simply taking money and giving rights to the logo and in some instances, they passed along dangerous, inferior goods for plain old money. It may have been before your time.

              The company I worked for had no problems with UL since our products often exceeded by several times the standard but OSHA was another story. I wasn’t on the inside of the negotiations but they’d write up nonsensical problems and from what I heard, stand around with their hand out.

    • Hi James,

      Yup.

      The blows being directed at diesel engines seem to me to arise from them working too well. Diesels are an economically viable alternative to hybrids and functionally superior to electric cars.

      I suspect this is why they are being targeted for termination…

      • eric, there are basically two reasons diesels are being targeted. For the most part, they last longer, often a great deal longer with less maintenance. All that bites into the corporate bottom line. The other part is gummint. They are more economical, often twice as economical in fuel usage alone and that doesn’t sit well with any form of govt. that collects tax from fuel. It’s the double whammy.

        My old pickup with a 454 got 11 mpg if you drove it easily. My diesel got 18 driving hell out of it on I-10, plus it had a much larger payload, was a bigger pickup and I spent a bit of nothing on engine upkeep. Add to that those sorry a-holes at Amsoil with oil and filters that would go 25K before a change, dual density air cleaners that only needed to be washed now and then and re-oiled and now you’ve cut the parts guys down to the bare minimum. I tried to address the synthetic vs. conventional transmission fluid with some guys who owned transmission shops and they just didn’t comment, didn’t have a word to say, as if I weren’t even there. The 3 monkeys.

  4. “Or will he do the unthinkable and let the market work – and buyers decide?”

    He’s already said he’s gonna hit any business that has the temerity to move some operations outside the U.S. with punitive tariffs — so, laissez faire free markets appear to be off the table.

    He’s a crony capitalist who owes his victory to auto producing Rust Belt states like Michigan, so I doubt he’s likely to encourage startups that would further bleed off their sales.

    I would like to be proven wrong, but hope despite evidence to the contrary is not much of a plan.

    • Hi Jim,

      In principle, I oppose tariffs because I support a free market model. But until we have a free market, tariffs may be necessary.

      One of the major problems right now is the strangulation of business (especially industry) here in the U.S. by EPA and OSHA and all the rest. It is easer – and costs less – to ship entire manufacturing plants overseas and across the border, even when you factor in the cost of sending the finished product back here for sale.

      If it became cost-competitive to manufacture here, then it would make business sense to manufacture here.

      My preferred solution would be to not punish the Mexicans or the Chinese but to reign in the EPA and OSHA.

      • Hear hear!. I remember watching entire manufacturing facilities being trucked to Mexico via that “big sucking sound”. We need to erase those “free” trade agreements also.

        • Yup. I am sick of the Murray Rothbard, Gary North idea that tariffs are the most evil thing since the snake in the garden. Accrording to them, they are more evil than the income tax and the strangling regulations on just about everything in this country. I, for one, am sick of it. Trump has expressed that, too.

          • problem is tarrifs don’t fix the problem. They need to majorly cut taxes and regulation here. Make this THE place to have a business.

          • “I am sick of the Murray Rothbard, Gary North idea that tariffs are the most evil thing since the snake in the garden.”
            Well what are tariffs? They are taxes! So yes, they are one of the most evil things around.

          • swamprat, hang on there. The elites are like fairy dust, just want one world for all of us so we can live in peace and harmony with no one(except them)having more than the other. Hhmm, think I’ve heard this before.

            So a bad old tariff might keep us from being on the same playing field as some culture where (unwritten word is unknown)booga booga is sweet music to anyone’s ear…..except for the booga booga’d chosen. A world where the most sophisticated thing invented is the streamlined wood and rock head banger…..as opposed to someone who has invented and created a nearly perpetual motion machine to get that “black stuff” out of the ground. Those two things should be an even trade…..eh?

      • I agree with reigning in the EPA, OSHA and the NHTSA, an agency with a tiny budget but big fangs. I don’t think it will resolve the difference in labor adjusted costs. Our costs are much higher here in the US and will always be. Tariffs are necessary. The only reason that we were able to get away with relatively small tariffs following WW2 was that no one was manufacturing after the war except for the US, so we had a captive market for American made goods. The other reason was that we had no EPA, OSHA or NHTSA until the early 1970s. Oddly, the diesel regulations could be looked as a de facto tariff on foreign made diesel vehicles. Which I oddly oppose.

        We need to realign our priorities and our regulations to accommodate more manufacturing. For the first time in my life, there is more than a 10% chance of that happening.

      • Had a buddy back in Massachusetts who owned a sheet metal shop, contracts with fire and security alarm manufacturers to make boxes for their equipment. Had about 250 employees at its peak. Eventually figured out that he he could ship the metal to China, have it stamped, and send it back to USA for a lot less than making it here. He closed the plant, got rid of all the employees and today he has nothing but a home office and computer, and makes twice as much profit as a “broker” than he did when working a hundred hours a week running a factory. I’m all for free enterprise and what not, but as a country, seems like we should be doing something to discourage this kind of thing.

        • “seems like we should be doing something to discourage this kind of thing”

          Name something. Tariffs hurt consumers in the same way as income taxes and regulations. And they are much better for politicians since they are basically hidden well before the consumer sees the price tag. All take money that should be used by the one who earned it and direct it to non-productive entities, including large number of individuals, who, acting in their own best interest, will grow in numbers. And all three will be rigged to benefit the either the noisiest voting block or the most “generous” corporate political contributions. The only thing that can give any relief at all, like todd said above, is reducing the size of the beast. But my /grandkids\ will be dead and buried before that happens, regardless of who runs the monster. The thing will have to die a natural death, and for governments that means either being conquered war or bankruptcy.

        • Hi VZ,

          Yes, agreed.

          For me, an intangible thing is that life ought not to be about commerce uber alles. That the most important thing should not be maximizing “ROI” – as it is styled.

          Example: I enjoy writing and in particular, writing freely; that is, stating my own opinion/views rather than toeing some ideological line. I could almost certainly make a lot more money writing what others want me to; and by toeing the line. But – for me – that would take all the joy out of the thing. I’d rather just wrench in that case.

          I think part of what we have lost as a country is the love for the work, with what it brings in being fine but entirely secondary…

          • I think part of what we have lost as a country is the love for the work, with what it brings in being fine but entirely secondary…

            Yes, exactly. This is why I take great issue with the academic libertarians’ assertion that the ultimate goal of productivity is to eliminate the need for human labor in producing a given good or service. Without human labor, there really is no point to the effort at all. This is why the goal of completely replacing humans with robots is such an idiotic exercise. If humans are eliminated from the production process, who is going to consume the output of the robots?

            • “the ultimate goal of productivity is to eliminate the need for human labor in producing a given good or service”
              No, the goal of productivity is to provide choice, and to make available opportunities to live longer, healthier, more satisfying lives.
              The goal of life is not, or should not be, retirement. The purpose of life is work – but productive, fulfilling work, not just labor.
              Pardon me while I wax ‘religious’ for a bit. God created Adam (man) to work – to tend the Garden. He and his descendants were to expand the Garden until it filled the whole earth. The fall, the sin of pride, of being equal with God, crashed that plan. The curse was not labor, but unproductive labor.

        • Maybe encourage someone else to become a broker and take a margin similar to what he was making before he moved his operation? Win-win for everyone but your buddy who took advantage of a bad trade deal.

          Deflation is the norm when it comes to commerce. Yes, worker’s wages fall to the lowest in the market, but prices should follow due to someone else willing to take a smaller margin. This means even though you make less money in real dollars it doesn’t really matter because the price of goods falls too. Except when someone games the system and uses deflated labor to increase margins while blocking out competition.

          • Deflation is the norm when it comes to commerce. Yes, worker’s wages fall to the lowest in the market, but prices should follow due to someone else willing to take a smaller margin. This means even though you make less money in real dollars it doesn’t really matter because the price of goods falls too.

            All other things being equal, you’re correct. However, I have to believe that in practice what would happen if prices fell is that new taxes would be added to the cost of everything in order to subsidize losses by the view due to the deflationary pressures. In short, workers would suffer the worst of both worlds: falling wages and inflation at the same time.

  5. The newest (still existing) successful American car start up from scratch is Chrysler. Founded June 6, 1925. It’s been nearly a century since then.

    Tesla doesn’t count as a successful startup. It doesn’t earn a profit in the traditional sense. And when taxpayers dollars dry up, Tesla will too.

  6. The population as a whole is now disconnected from where things come from. How they are made, designed and so forth. If Trump were to try and guy USDOT and FMVSS there would be an uproar. Why? Because for fifty some years people have been conned that government granted us safe cars. How did government grant us safe cars? In modern terms they copy and pasted SAE standards to make FMVSS. Back then they would have had to retype them.

    Few people understand that automotive safety efforts began day one. Automakers smelled profit to sell it. They tried and tried. Ford’s failure in the 1950s resulted in the attitude that safety doesn’t sell. But they didn’t stop. After Nader and the government take over automotive safety stagnated before starting to increase again. Once it started selling in the 1980s…. well that opened the flood gates.

    Every single safety regulation could be repealed and punted back to SAE to deal with right now and not much would change. Why? Because the people want this stuff. What may happen is we get a better balance between usefulness and safety. Some models might appear that prioritize cost over safety by some margin. That would be about it. Because now most customers demand a certain level and that level would remain the in the private standards.

    The trouble with private standards is they preserve voluntary society. An automaker who doesn’t meet them but doesn’t inform his customer might have problems lawsuit wise, but otherwise would be free to build and sell. We could end up with levels of standards. Where an automaker might sell a vehicle with level 3 safety vs. level 1 safety. The customer would then decide what he wanted.

    But fedgov thinks we can’t make those decisions. So one size fits all, just like on the industrial farm.

    • “The population as a whole is now disconnected from where things come from.”

      Eggs come from the grocery store. Electricity comes from that plug thingy in the wall.

      Intellectual curiosity is just about dead. Although, there are rare instances where it still exists such as on YouTube, you can find wonderful examples of someone attempting to get a car started after it sat for 50 years.

      That first wave of smoke when it kicks off puts a smile on my face!

    • Brent, somewhere I have an old Plymouth ad touting the safety of their new wheel design. It truly was a step forward and everyone adopted it after that. We should laud companies for efforts such as that. Of course that has nothing to do with what EPA, OSHA or NHTSA do. A couple years ago Tx. added a couple laws with no fanfare so it was easy to fine every truck on the road for having no backup light. Nothing like a light that lights up the bottom of your trailer when you’re in the cab and in reverse. They also made not only working windshield washers that not only worked but had to work when you were checked no matter if you’d just run out and were about to stop and buy more fluid. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve been stopped and had 15 violations written up for stuff that was fiction, such as not having DOT numbers on the door on a truck with regulation size DOT numbers on the door. I’ve had them write so many violations of things that were iffy at best they never checked things such as having a working electric horn and an air horn. If you left the house with all your lights working in the dark and sometime during the day a rock hit a headlight or something, you were still charged for it even if you carried a spare so when you needed that headlight you’d have one. The list on big rigs has no end.

      • Here’s what I have to deal with all too frequently on my morning commute:

        https://youtu.be/LGf8DGrIxfU

        The truck scales. They bring scales out and ticket truckers for who knows what on the far side of the bridge after any damage has been done. The backups probably cause more wear and tear to the bridge than the overweight trucks.

  7. Since the end of every presidency I could’ve voted for (I turned 18 in ’85, so Shrub the First), I’ve been worse off in some way: higher taxes, more restrictions, etc…. If, after the end of the Trump presidency, I am not worse off, it will be the greatest presidency I have memory of; the bar is quite low.

    If the boot is removed from my neck just a little overall (e.g. repealing the ACA and replace it with nothing as well as nothing else getting worse), I’d consider him one of the greatest politicians of our time (again, the bar is quite low) .

    • Found this in my inbox this morning:

      https://blog.linkedin.com/2017/highest-paying-jobs-in-america-based-on-linkedin-salary-data?trk=li_corpblog_namer_careers_toppay_content

      Note the list is dominated by health care workers. Well, they prefer to be called physicians. Still don’t see nurses on the list, and yet they still they “can’t find enough nurses to fill all the open positions.”

      Does anyone think for one second there’s any motivation to lower costs? Increase profits, sure. But price deflation? No way in hell is the AMA going to let that happen.

      • I get several eletters every day for jobs of all kinds. Healthcare is right up there and rarely is anyone looking for a physician. All kinds of nurses, even specifically trained ones are there in great numbers as well as medical technicians of all sorts. It’s a worker smorgasbord for healthcare and plenty of managerial and paper pushers are needed in the medical field.

        It’s ironic all the trucking jobs that can’t be filled for technical reasons. I see something I like and it has “must be TWIC endorsed” and Alabame rolled metal certified”. Well, last I looked a couple weeks ago, TWIC had hit the trucking industry for 30,000 jobs. Damned if I’m gonna have my irises scanned and put in federal record but then again, a felon just won’t do for their FBI background checks. They come and speak to your neighbors, banker, places you do business with just so you can haul nuclear wastes from Tx. to La. and they aren’t satisfied with just having a GPS on your truck they can monitor but have secret surveillance of every foot of your trip. No wonder truckers don’t want a TWIC card. I wouldn’t give a shit if the FBI wanted to trail me but having my irises scanned is over the top. Many of these outfits also test for drugs via hair samples so it doesn’t make a damn if you smoked some pot 10 years ago and haven’t touched it since, it still shows up. The country is definitely not going in a direction of freedom.

  8. You know the answer, Eric. Sure, Trump might do a couple of outlandish things here & there, but for the most part, the next 4/8 years will be business as usual. In fact, it might even be worse, as the deep state powers that be will do their damndest to show Trump who’s really in charge.

  9. The bureaucracy is designed for a world that has long since passed. It is a world where two companies is a monopoly, but 3 (possibly 4) is a competitive market. It is a world where scale is the way to grow the company. It is a world where consistency is preferred over quality or ingenuity. It is a world where products are defined by what they were in the past, not what they might be tomorrow. It is a world that desires control.

    I’m always fascinated by the coincidence that caused the rise of the bureaucracy and progressive government at the same time as the industrial revolution. The term “regulator” is taken from steam engines. Most here will know that the regulator is a device that will close off the steam feed if the engine gets going too fast. In early engines it was a rotating pair of balls on a lever mechanism. Centrifugal force pulls the balls away from the central shaft and the lever pushes a valve down cutting off steam. In this way the engine is self-regulating and will maintain speed with an acceptable margin of error. By that definition, government regulators are here to intentionally slow business down, not let it thrive. For whatever reason, during the progressive era it was considered desirable to hobble successful people. Olympic athletes are regulated in much the same way that business is regulated. Would allowing for “cheating” mean great leaps in human performance? Would world records be broken by great leaps every year instead of the millisecond increments we see today? Would there be a market for “pure” athletic competition along with technologically enhanced? If everyone in the race is taking steroids would the outcome be any different?

    Again I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir but remember that the whole idea of government regulation of industry was sold to the public under false pretenses anyway. The “horrors” of the Chicago meat packing industry were the delusions of a hack novelist. The Standard Oil monopoly was constantly cutting prices thanks to innovation, not predatory pricing. So-called natural monopolies (like water, electricity and increasingly providing Internet service) exist to maintain high margins for the providers and limit innovation. When airlines were “deregulated” (actually just the pricing and route protection were eliminated) prices fell and the basic service improved dramatically. Yea, I know the seats are too small and the stewardess is mean, but you can fly nearly anywhere for very little money and generally get there fairly quickly and usually pretty much on time.

    But the real damage is what it does to us. We (as customers) are so conditioned to believe that everything has some sort of government seal of approval, so it must be OK. No one questions that steak with the USDA choice label, or even know what that means. Everyone just assumes that airbags are A-OK and won’t cause more harm than good. When there’s a pathogen outbreak, thanks to the fact that bureaucracy wants scaled up centralized processing plants, it affects millions of people. If there were thousands of factories feeding those same millions a few people might get sick when one of those processing plants has a problem, but that’s not what the regulations favor. When there’s a bad design of a bureaucracy-approved airbag it will put millions of lives at risk. And that’s the real desire of the bureaucracy. Gin up support for the bureaucracy by scaring the hell out of us and vilifying business. Never let a crisis go to waste, especially if it was caused by the bureaucracy itself. And the regulated businesses are happy too. They simply provide the minimum service level required to keep most customers from complaining too much, while putting all their R&D into reducing production costs.

    The alternative is relatively easy to figure out. Know your butcher. Use outside testing firms like UL or Good Housekeeping. Read reviews from trusted sources. And, of course, develop trust relationships with businesses.

    BTW, two of the Tucker Torpedoes are located at the Swigart Museum in Huntingdon PA (of all places). The prototype and the waltz blue car used in the movie specifically. A great place to spend an afternoon.

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