♠ Posted by Emmanuel in Credit Crisis at 2/25/2009 11:26:00 AMFor all the hullabaloo it raised, Al Gore was misquoted by his opponents for political purposes when what he intended to say was that he supported funding for the Internet. He did not really mean that he "invented the Internet." Fast-forward to 2009 and we have a similar controversy. I watched the US President's address to the joint session of Congress with interest. One of the things I was looking out for was mention of how he would deal with problematic automakers GM and Chrysler. Together, they are reportedly about to ask Washington for $21.6 billion more in aid on top of the $17.4B they've already been given. Unfortunately, what little Obama discussed about the automakers is worse than enlightening; he was downright misleading. This from the remarks posted on the White House site:
As for our auto industry, everyone recognizes that years of bad decision-making and a global recession have pushed our automakers to the brink. We should not, and will not, protect them from their own bad practices. But we are committed to the goal of a re-tooled, re-imagined auto industry that can compete and win. Millions of jobs depend on it. Scores of communities depend on it. And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it.Despite the posturing, the operative phrase is "none of this will come without cost." Obama is, IMHO, preparing the public for money to be thrown down a bottomless money pit alike that extended to the banks. Before you object, also notice the "scores of communities" and the most problematic statement concerning "the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it." While patriotic puffery is to be expected from these kinds of events, the latter statement is troubling. Despite still-ongoing controversies over what constitutes an automobile--does a steam-powered vehicle qualify, etc--you will be hard-pressed to find an account of America inventing the automobile. The best US claim I can find is of Oliver Evans patenting a design for a steam carriage design in 1789, and hardly anyone cites him as the "father of the automobile."
None of this will come without cost, nor will it be easy. But this is America. We don’t do what’s easy. We do what is necessary to move this country forward.
Most accounts cite Karl Benz, the legendary German engineer whose name still graces one of if not the world's most recognizable nameplate for luxury cars, Mercedes-Benz. It's a fairly inconsequential observation, but it does make you wonder what else fanciful stories the current administration will conjure to make the case for unprecedented deficit spending. What's next, America invented porn?