Pretty sure I'll get my head kicked in for this one, but somebody's gotta say it ...
I purchased awhite, 4-door Honda Accord LX in 1987. I drove it for 206,000 miles. When I traded it, it was STILL getting 33 mpg on the highway. Why did I drive it for so long? Because I could.
In 1996, I purchased a white, 4-door Honda Accord LX. I drove it for 176,000 miles before, I bestowed it on my first-born in 2007. He's still driving it. Because he can.
In 2006, I purchased a black, Honda CRV. I dig my fog lights, even though I have occasion to use them about once per year. I intend to drive this car into the ground.
Why? Because I can. Because it's built to drive a long, long time.
My dear friend Pia just sent me a satirical 'advertisement.' It looks exactly like a magazine advertisement you'd see for any new car. The headline says "You wouldn't buy our $*!t#y cars ...." Then there's this picture of a minivan. And underneath it says, "... so we're taking your money anyway." And, at the very bottom, "The Bailout. Coming this January."
I couldn't even laugh, it was so funny. I couldn't even laugh, it was so true.
Of COURSE I have compassion for the buhjillion jobs threatened by the struggles of the American auto industry. But I also take umbrage.
They call it a Free Market for a reason. The Japanese consistently built a better vehicle for the same or less money. And, in a free market, that wins. There is no working definition of "patriotism" that rightly says, "Steven, if you love your country you'll reward and patronize mediocrity." Nope. Patriotism NEVER lowers the bar. Ever.
The target is Excellence AND Affordability. Why am I having to remind anyone of this?
The capper for me is this: NOTHING is necessarily stopping us from competing at a very high level. We know how. We know the sacrifices necessary.
Once again, there's some suffering to do. And we're not willing to do it.
Which always causes more suffering.