Why A “Car Czar” Won’t Help Anything


Tomorrow is the day the heads of the Big Three try again to present their case for a bailout. Having been sent home penniless and humiliated (the plane flap) they’re going to carpool to Washington with a new plan to save their companies. Ostensibly, they’re supposed to have spent these last couple weeks figuring out something that they’ve had decades to solve. Good luck on that.

Regardless of what form of bailout the government decides on — pure loan, prepackaged bankruptcy, etc., — expect Obama to appoint some kind of Car Czar, someone whose job it is to shepherd the automakers through the next few years and hopefully into the promised land.

We don’t think that’ll do much good, and it rests on the fallacy that the problem is leadership, and if you just got the right guy in place, with the right bird’s eye view of things, the problems could go away.

 The problem is that nobody knows how to make a car. No single human could ever possess the disparate knowledge necessary to just make a market work. If you disagree, here’s a snip from the classic libertarian fable I, Pencil:

I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be, merit your wonder and awe, a claim I shall attempt to prove. In fact, if you can understand me—no, that’s too much to ask of anyone—if you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolise, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing. I have a profound lesson to teach. And I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an aeroplane or a mechanical dishwasher because—well, because I am seemingly so simple.

Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me. This sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Especially when it is realised that there are about one and one-half billion of my kind produced in the U.S.A. each year.

Read the whole thing, and if  you realise that there’s no way a single person could run a pencil operation, then it should be obvious that no single individual can save the carmakers.