You don't need to be a professor or fellow at an ivy league university or institute to appreciate the demise of free enterprise. You can see the effects of government interference right in Ferndale. City Council, at the behest of the DDA, spent valuable time June 23 considering then passing ordinances regulating the size, shape, and fees permitting a potential health risk to civilians: sandwich boards. You know, those little signs shops put on the sidewalk hoping to catch your eye with their lunch menu, specials, promotions and sales.
I'm unsure how Ferndale has survived this long without rigorous standards for sandwich boards. This must be the blight and rejuvenation the state legislature was thinking about when it wrote the laws authorizing DDAs to micro-manage. Between this and other ordinances, millages, expanding the district to tax more business, eventually the DDA will transform Ferndale's character to be as unique and appealing as the inside of Oakland Mall.
Would the car sticking out of the second story at Wetmore's be allowed if the DDA had anything to do with it? I think not. I credit Steffie Loveless, publisher of Ferndale Friends, with the observation that the DDA is slowly removing everything that was once "authentic" Ferndale.
But back to the Big Three,
Every large corporation is also a welfare agency of its own--employing people that if they weren't for fear of discrimination lawsuits would have been let-go a long time go. The same goes for minority suppliers--for fear of more government intervention and bad press from Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition, the big three could have spent less time propping-up weak suppliers with preferential price and payment terms than with established suppliers. As part of the bailout, the big three should hold a Survivor-like tribunal to vote some of its staff off the island--including management.
When I worked at Comerica there were people we all knew were unproductive by virtue of laziness or incompetence that wouldn't make it to the second episode. The reality is such a thing isn't possible because public opinon wouldn't allow it. The only time such a move might be tolerated would be during bankruptcy--which might be one of the opportunities the big three may exploit--along with the elimination of suppliers that require too much hand-holding. The result would be a stronger staff and a stronger supply-chain.
Wonder if government interference influences the price of things or free enterprise? Ethanol is cheaper to produce from sugar cane than corn, but those quantities of sugar cane are more likely to come from Brazil than midwest corn farmers. So to make corn-based ethanol more attractive (and not just to congressmen and senators) the government subsidizes it. And because the government doesn't think consumers are willing to pay for electronic cars at prices that reflect the cost to make them, they're offering a $7800 tax incentive to new owners.
I've already gone on record as believing embryonic stem cell (ESC) research shouldn't be illegal, but I strongly oppose any public funding for it. If ESC therapies are really as promising as its supporters claim it to be, then some entreprenurial capitalist should be funding their own development of the technology so they may profit from their patents, treatments, and medicines. Adult stem cell therapies have already proven successful without hype. Where ESC is all promise, hope, lobbying, grants, government funding and sympathetic advertisements, adult stem cells are helping people today.
One last example while I'm thinking about it. If Ferndale residents had to pay the whole cost of the totem pole at Woodward and Cambourne, would we have paid the $100,000 cost? No, but since government grants picked-up much of the cost not only did we get fragile monument for only $30,000 but we contributed to earmarks, pork, and wasteful government spending.
So, as citizens, if we think government intervention and social engineering is a good thing in commercial markets, that minimum wage should be set by law and not the market, that the government should manipulate credit-worthiness through Fredie and Fannie whether borrowers have a job or income, then we should applaud the bailouts and be anxious for more of them--because bailouts are the price we're willing to pay for feel-good public policy in commerce than free-enterprise.