In response to a question about the Chevy Volt, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm says criticism of the car is “Un-American.” Oh, this is fun — mostly because the criticism quoted to Granholm wasn’t just advanced by Rush Limbaugh, but within the pages of the New York Times, where reviewer Edward Niedermeyer described the car as an “electric lemon”:
So the future of General Motors (and the $50 billion taxpayer investment in it) now depends on a vehicle that costs $41,000 but offers the performance and interior space of a $15,000 economy car.
Niedermeyer concluded that the only reason anyone would buy a Volt is if they view it as their personal responsibility to do so in support of the bailouts:
In the end, making the bailout work — whatever the cost — is the only good reason for buying a Volt… If G.M. were honest, it would market the car as a personal donation for, and vote of confidence in, the auto bailout.
This is what happens when government tries to get into the auto-making business. This reminds me of the arguments that patriotism demands people not game the individual mandate — “all our policy requires to be effective is that human nature not exist.” The audacity of suggesting that it is “Un-American” to criticize an American company’s product, fueled with taxpayer dollars, shows that she doesn’t understand the first thing about free speech or free markets. American consumers love to criticize and compare products, and they’ll make decisions based on their own priorities, not Granholm’s faux-patriotic guilt-tripping.
I’m no fan of GM cars, and never have been — I drive a Ford. If that makes me Un-American, well — I say that’s big talk for a governor born in Canada.
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