Planet Gore

“Stealth industrial policy”

Here at Planet Gore, we have noted for the last year that Obama’s “industrial policy” is little more than an attempt to transform America into a green economy, using both the honey of government subsidies and the hammer of government mandates.

The effort has been centered in Michigan — home of key Democrat Big Labor and Government Motors constituencies. Obama has diverted billions in stimulus dollars to corporate cronies like the Big Three, LGChem, A123, and Dow to build his pet, battery-powered toys.

The New York Times finally sat up and took notice this weekend, with reporter Jon Gertner spending some time on the ground here and writing a superb piece in the Sunday Magazine. Obama’s is, he says, “a stealth industrial policy based on the conviction that manufacturing is essential to the nations’ well-being.”

This is the nationalization of Obama-twin and ex-Michigan Governor Granholm’s failed “Green Belt” experiment. Like Granholm, Obama and his academic masters of the universe think they are smarter than the markets.

“Jennifer Granholm, Michigan’s former governor, has predicted that advanced batteries will create 62,000 jobs over the next decade,” writes Gertner. He continues:

It is tempting to see in this the stirrings of an industrial revolution. As the country’s jobless rate hovers above 9 percent, could this manufacturing revival be part of the answer to the jobs crisis? Or is it merely an expensive government bet on a lost cause?

Even in the battery industry, there are skeptics. Menahem Anderman, a California-based consultant, says that transforming 10 percent of the world’s automobiles into either plug-in hybrids or electric vehicles by 2020 is a pipe dream. His projection is for less than 2 percent. . . . (Anderman) questioned whether consumers would pay $10,000 more for an inferior car. As Anderman puts it: “Has there ever been, in the modern history of capitalist countries, a new product for which the mainstream customer paid more for less?”

Alas, we have to keep relearning the mistakes of the past.

“It was a calculated risk – a lot of money, to be sure, but given the stakes, I think it was a pretty thoughtful bet,” Obama auto advisor Ron Bloom tells The Times.

It’s fun to gamble with other people’s money.

Henry Payne — Henry Payne is the auto critic for the Detroit News.

Most Popular


Our Cultural Crisis: A Kirkian Response

Editors’ note: The following article is adapted from a speech the author delivered at the Heritage Foundation on March 14, 2018. Few would dispute that we are in the middle of a grave cultural crisis. A despairing conservative critic wrote: “We are on the road to cultural disaster.” He placed the ... Read More

Confirm Pompeo

What on earth are the Democrats doing? President Trump has nominated CIA director Mike Pompeo, eminently qualified by any reasonable standard, to be America’s 70th secretary of state. And yet the Senate Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer, have perverted the advice and consent clause of the Constitution into a ... Read More

The Mournful, Magnificent Sally Mann

‘Does the earth remember?" The infinitely gifted photographer Sally Mann asks this question in the catalogue of her great retrospective at the National Gallery in Washington. On view there is her series of Civil War battlefield landscapes, among the most ravishing works of art from the early 2000s. Once sites ... Read More
PC Culture

The Dark Side of the Starbucks Stand-Down

By now the story is all over America. Earlier this month, two black men entered a Starbucks store in Philadelphia. They were apparently waiting for a friend before ordering — the kind of thing people do every day — and one of the men asked to use the restroom. A Starbucks employee refused, saying the restroom ... Read More

Save the Eighth

There are many things to admire in Ireland’s written constitution. Most especially, the text includes, since a popular referendum in 1983, the Eighth Amendment: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to ... Read More
White House

The Comey & Mueller Show

It has been a good week for President Trump. Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz provided indisputable evidence that former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe lied at least four key times and was fired by the attorney general for cause -- and that Mr. Trump had nothing to do with it. McCabe and ... Read More