I am a committed non-driver. I have not owned a car since, well, let’s just say in a long time. I am among the 67 percent of Americans who oppose bailing out General Motors.
President Barack Obama’s announcement of General Motors’ “restructuring” (read: bailout by bankruptcy) is an American tragedy. To date, the federal government has plunked down more than $50 billion in a company that’s been trying to save itself for decades. The nationalization of GM is uncharted territory.
On Saturday, I was reminded of GM’s iconic role as a symbol of America’s industrial power. The Museum of the African Diaspora presented a re-creation of Malcolm X’s 1964 speech, “The Ballot or the Bullet.” Malcolm observed:
So we’re trapped, trapped, double-trapped, triple-trapped. Anywhere we go we find that we’re trapped. And every kind of solution that someone comes up with is just another trap. But the political and economic philosophy of Black Nationalism -- the economic philosophy of Black Nationalism shows our people the importance of setting up these little stores and developing them and expanding them into larger operations. … General Motors [is] the same way. They didn’t start out like it is. It started out just a little rat race type operation. And it expanded and it expanded until today it's where it is right now.
Now, American taxpayers are trapped with a 60 percent stake in General Motors, whose market share has declined to 22 percent from 52 percent in 1964.
Call me crazy, but I don’t see consumers rushing out to buy cars that are designed good enough for government work.