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Monday, October 13, 2008

Ban the ‘Vette?

I read a review of the forthcoming 2009 Chevy Corvette ZR1 Sunday morning. A mere $105,000; 638 horsepower; and a side order of GM has been talking about merging with either Chrysler or Ford, as they (pretty much all) burn through their remaining cash at an accelerating rate.

Why combining several hidebound, sclerotic, failing companies into a larger (hidebound, sclerotic) company would be a good idea is a mystery to me.

How producing another gas vaporizing vehicle—turn on the stereo in this thing and you’ve burned at least half a gallon—is going to help one of the Shrinking Three US automakers is also a little opaque.

I do understand the appeal of muscle cars—though more the Mustang than the ‘Vette.

But I have to admit that my first, nanny-state, impulse was “this shouldn’t be legal.”

You could tax the hell out of this car; push it from $100K to $200K.

You could put a governor on it—sell people a muscle-bound, mid-life crisis sports car with the speed capped at 55MPH.

But why not: Just. Say. No.

Kind of un-American, I know.

But we do ban things now and again, and often that’s a matter of degree: most people would put a muzzle-loaded, black powder musket under the Second Amendment’s “right to bear arms.” Very few (there’s a couple in every bunker, of course) would extend this to cover personal ownership of a full auto, sixty caliber machine gun.

I can see why you might want to shoot the occasional goose, using the musket; I don’t recognize the right to shoot down an entire flock of geese (or even the irritating 80s band, A Flock of Seagulls) using the machine gun.

Interestingly (and, as far as I’m concerned, appropriately) there’s more and more regulation of engines on the (very) small end of the spectrum. The EPA is finally going to force lawn mowers and the like to comply with more stringent emissions guidelines. And, in an increasing number of places, gas leaf blowers are being outright banned (more often for noise than for emissions, but both issues are being discussed—as is the banning of gas mowers).

We know, of course, that the best, safest, most efficient thing to do is to regulate markets as little as possible—preferably not at all.

That always yields the greatest result for the greatest number of people right?

Just look at Wall Street!

Oh wait. . .

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