They’re All Government Motors Now

GM gets ribbed a lot (and rightly so) for being “government motors” … having accepted (no, demanded) enormous sums of taxpayer money in order to avoid bankruptcy. The bailouts were the corporate equivalent of EBT (which conservatives somewhat oddly or at least, inconsistently, dislike . . . their ire apparently reserved for needy and greedy humans rather than needy and greedy corporations).

Anyhow, the plain fact is they’re all government motors now.

Every car company is a subsidiary of Uncle.

Either they are on the dole, or they are on the payroll. Does it really matter (to us, the people who pay the freight) which? The bottom line is they have their hands in our pockets. Or rather, they have appealed — successfully — to Uncle, who has his hands in our pockets. And, of course, a gun to our heads — implied, at least.

Actual, when necessary.

What’s happened is that the car companies decided about 20 years ago to work with the government rather than for their customers — on the theory that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Instead of fighting mandates tooth and nail — government bureaucrats decreeing the features and equipment your next new car will have (and which you will pay for)  — the car companies came to the realization it was less hassle (and more profitable) to embrace the mandates. Even to the extent of anticipating the next one.

To assist the government in thinking up new things to charge people for.

For example, back-up cameras. These will no longer be optional after model year 2017. If you want to buy a 2018 model, you will have no choice about buying the camera.

For “safety,” of course.

And de facto, this is already the case.

It is hard to find a 2015 model car or truck that doesn’t have a back-up camera as part of its suit of standard equipment. Often, it is “bundled” with features you might actually find useful or desirable — like an upgraded audio system or GPS.

Rather than wait for the mandate to kick in, the car companies went all-in early.

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