Some heretical thoughts being bandied about at The Wall Street Journal where today's edition features an editorial that pushes the idea of liberating Detroit to build and sell cars and trucks that actually make money, instead of having to offer vehicles that first satisfy bureaucratic edicts from Washington bureaucrats.
I know, I know, leave GM, Ford and Chrysler to their own devices and they'll probably build millions of full-size trucks - Ford F-150s, Chevy Silverados and Dodge Rams - that get lousy gas mileage and pollute the environment, compared to the economy weezer modules Washington's all-wise bureaucrats seek to force everybody else to drive, like it or not, because it's "good for us and the environment."
Along the way, the WSJ analysis focuses on the crucial role of the government's Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rules in the undoing of the Big Three:
"The fuel-economy rules apply equally to foreign brands, of course, some of which also specialize in big, powerful vehicles. But they afford themselves an out. BMW paid $230 million in CAFE fines from 1983 to 2007 to avoid building small cars at a loss to please Washington. Volvo paid $56 million. Daimler paid $55 million.
"Why don't the Big Three take this out? Explains the Government Accountability Office, because they fear the political repercussions of being tagged with "unlawful conduct."
"They must be laughing up their sleeves in Stuttgart, having unloaded Chrysler in the nick of time. Democrats had just taken over Congress the previous November, vowing tough new mileage standards. One week before the Chrysler sale, candidate Barack Obama gave an environmental speech harshly critical of the Detroit auto makers. Three weeks after, the Big Three ran up the white flag and agreed not to oppose new fuel economy rules.
"This year, Daimler paid one of the biggest CAFE fines ever, $30 million -- or $118 per car, a pittance to Mercedes buyers. By dumping Chrysler, meanwhile, it avoided its share of an estimated $100 billion in unremunerative investments the Big Three will have to make to meet the new fuel-mileage rules."
Read the whole thing. Then write your congressman and ask him why he wants to kill America's greatest industry.