What just happened (Friday) tells us much about what Trump must do on Monday.
Thirty thousand people just lost their jobs – as opposed to the not one person actually harmed by VW’s “cheating” on the government’s emissions tests.
The jobs go away because VW’s profits have.
In order to pay the government (and shyster lawyers) the company can’t afford to pay wages to those 30,000 people.
This is just one – very real – measure of the human costs of an out-of-control regulatory apparat that imposes these costs on the basis of speculative or hysterically over-exaggerated risks.
Like the tiresome cry of “racism!” to shut up legitimate hand-raising about certain increasingly indefensible policies based on an era that’s now at least 50 years in the rearview, this “cheating” business falls apart when examined at all closely.
Which is precisely why (like “racism”) it isn’t examined closely.
Disliking Obama (and Obama’s unctuous yes-we-can socialism) doesn’t mean one dislikes blacks. Or that failing to vote for his anointed replacement as GenSec is clear evidence of vagina phobia. But it must be presented in these terms, because the thing itself – socialism, honestly presented – cannot be defended.
Just like the EPA’s emissions tests.
It is no longer about “clean air” – the mantra that, like “racism,” is beginning to lose its power.
Or, will – as people begin to realize the extent of the con.
And of the damage.
What VW did was encode some software that resulted – under some driving conditions – in a fractional increase in the emissions of something called oxides of nitrogen (NOx), a genuinely harmful compound… in large quantities.
And therein lies the rub.
The quantities at issue are very, very tiny. Almost unmeasurable. Literally. As in fractions of a percent. On the order of .03 vs. .02 (and that only under certain conditions, such as wide open throttle operation). This is the difference between “clean” – as defined by the EPA Ayatollahs – and “dirty.”
And – unlike the EPA’ s hysterical pronouncements and the media’s parroting of same – that isn’t an exaggeration.
Here’s another way to get a handle on things:
The cars that VW is being crucified over – which has resulted in 30,000 people losing their livelihoods – would have qualified as “clean” under the EPA Ayatollahs’ prior and recent standards. The ones in effect circa model year 2000.
Were model year 2000 cars planet-fouling filth-spewers?
Find one. Stand behind it with the engine running. See for yourself.
Notice that EPA has not produced anyone actually harmed by VW’s “cheating.” None such exist. We are talking about a confected crisis, a manufactured problem.
The air is clean. Because cars are and have been for decades. The “clean air” problem stopped being one circa the late 1980s. By the mid-1990s, all new cars came from the factory with fuel-injected, computer-controlled engines and “three way” catalytic converter exhaust scrubbers. The stuff that was coming out of the tailpipe circa 1970 – which was a clean air problem – had by the mid-1990s become a no-longer-problem.
More than 95 percent of the Bad Stuff had by then been purged or contained or rendered harmless. Since then, EPA has been pursuing (Inspector Javert-like) the fractional remainder, at ever-increasing cost.
But here’s the rub: Combustion will necessarily produce some emissions no matter what technology is applied. The question – both economic and practical – is, simply, at what point do we declare victory and go home?
If it is a zero emissions car, this will never happen unless we go over to electric cars exclusively – and even these still produce emissions, just indirectly.
But shouldn’t a nearly zero-emissions car be enough? 97.2 percent “clean”… vs. 97.5 percent “clean”?
One with very real consequences.
30,000 people have just lost their jobs. No small thing, especially to those who’ve just been unemployed.
And that is only one measure of the human cost – the real cost – of this debacle. Not yet tabulated is the cost of the jobs that won’t be created as VW loses market share, as people shy away from buying VWs (diesel-powered or not) because of the radioactive fallout of the scandal.
This whole year, VW was verboten from selling any diesel-powered cars. Each one a lost sale; a non-commission for a salesman, a net loss for the dealership. Each new car sent back to Germany – or crushed – a write-off. Hundreds of thousands of cars. In addition to the half-million cars VW was forced to buy back and then crush.
Billions in fines yet to pay. Which is money VW won’t have for research and development, to build new cars, which will never be sold because they’ll never be designed. More jobs lost or never created, more useful things that will never see the light of day.
It’s sickening, gratuitous waste.
All for what, exactly?
To mollify religious zealots who seem to view cars as fundamentally evil things that must be dealt with as “heretics” were in Salem 300 years ago. If they weren’t zealots, they’d step back from causing so much real harm to actual people for the sake of what amounts to the automotive equivalent of outrage over someone doing chores on the Sabbath.
Trump’s got an opportunity to do some real good, by routing these Ayatollahs from their perches and insisting on regulatory sanity henceforth.
No doubt the Ayatollahs are worried.
Here’s to hoping their fears are well-founded.
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