Do Cars Mean Business?

LTRs know that like a diseased tick, once I get ahold of vein of controversy, I don’t let go until I either get my fill of blood or squashed. 🙂

Going along with a previous post which questioned the brain damaged assertion that “Bikes Mean Business”, I’m asking yet another question. Do cars mean business?

Of course they do, but do they mean very much business?

According to CAR, a leading pro-automobile think tank, the answer is, “CARS DON’T REALLY CONTRIBUTE TOO MUCH TO THE US ECONOMY.” From their report:

“At the end of 2008, U.S. automotive output was 2.2% of GDP”

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&ved=0CEYQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.oesa.org%2FDoc-Vault%2FIndustry-Information-Analysis%2FCAR-Economic-Significance-Report.pdf&ei=WdP5UJocgt-IArycgdgM&usg=AFQjCNHV_6gbA8igN1d_ZsbQ9plCdsfwGg&sig2=1Zd3tUNE_yJPr8ToVMtjsg&bvm=bv.41248874,d.cGE

Two percent isn’t too much. Note that this isn’t counting the enormous economic output that such a powerhouse is creating by taking tax dollars to build roads, paying doctors to treat hundreds of thousands of motoring injuries, paying for the obesity epidemic, and the burgeoning parking meter industry. I don’t feel that we should think of extra misery and expense on American citizens to be “productive part of the GDP” and neither does CAR, apparently.

In fact, their report looks a bit desperate to act as if cars are actually really important rather than a part of our economy that continues to decline. Since 1995, we autos have gone from 3.7% to 2.2% of our entire GDP. I know that the economy was in the toilet, but this is a declining percentage of a smaller economy, a double decline. If auto manufacturing had stayed the same then it would have actually increased in percentage, but it went down.

Next, the CAR report tries a sad bait and switch as it tries to conflate auto manufacturing with manufacturing of everything else.

“A look at the entire production and supply chain provides a rich narrative of how a strong automotive industry historically supports the growth and stability of many other industries, such as basic materials suppliers of steel, plastic, rubber and glass, which are used for making bodies, interiors and trim, tires, gaskets and windows.”

This is typical extortion like we see from the banks. Do our bidding or we will bring the whole system down with us.

Next, they stress research and development which is only funded 1% by the US government. Do you know why? Because research and development funded by our government is there for public interest like curing cancer. What are some of the auto industries research goals?

“In 2007, the U.S. automotive sector, responding to: 1) the need to improve safety in vehicles, 2) consumer demands for new model types with enhanced cosmetic and drive performance characteristics, and 3) regulation of emissions, invested $16 billion into R&D.”

If you banned cars, we wouldn’t have any of these problems. Thus the research done is mainly to get rid of the problems that cars cause in the first place.

Next they whine about the “economy”.

“Several contributing factors are responsible for the current anemic economic situation, yet the primary culprit tends to be the American housing market and the risky operations that lead to its growth.”

Guess where the housing bubble took place, primarily? The suburbs which were only possible by guess what? The automobile. So the auto industry is again whining about a problem that they were critical for its creation. Boy these guys are hilarious.

“This unprecedented sales activity was largely supported by: easy access to low interest credit (often through draws on home equity);
an ex-urban housing development movement necessitating increased vehicle ownership; a booming stock market; post- 9/11 manufacturer incentives; and an enhanced sense of personal wealth.”

Who saved them? Hard work? Intelligence? Genetic superiority?

“In addition to the bankruptcy and restructuring activity during the summer of 2009, the U.S. Federal government also intervened in the U.S. auto sales market by introducing the Car Allowance Rebate System, commonly referred to as the Cash for Clunkers program. Congress appropriated $3 billion for this program; the impact on new vehicle sales proved to be immediate and significant.”

Ah, so the US government made it possible to continue to sell cars to people who admitted above were only buying them because the only property they could afford was due to motoring which was caused by widespread motoring. My head is spinning.

Remember this next time we hear about “gold plated bike paths” or “cars are important to the economy.”

From their own report, it seems that CARs understands that the US government is important for the buying and selling of cars.

Thus, we should not be ashamed when we ask the government to spend some change building infrastructure to fix the problems that they spent billions creating.

Thanks CARs.

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