At least with Government Motors, American consumers will be given a choice: They don’t have to buy the socialist cars, and can shop Ford, Toyota or any other non-federal government owned brand if they don’t want to contribute to the collectivization of the American economy. GM’s precipitous decline in the past six months should make it easy for President Obama to at least claim some success in the early months. In North America, GM’s second quarter production for ’09 is estimated to be 390,000 vehicles (172,000 cars and 218,000 trucks.) That’s down 53% from a year ago when GM North America built 834,000 vehicles.
If Obamacars cannot make a come back from these exceedingly low production numbers it will be because of a country-wide rejection of the very idea of a government owned car company. The fascinating figures to watch will be the comparative recoveries of Ford and Toyota versus GM. All three have suffered the effects of the panic, and as the panic subsides, all three should recover at roughly the same rate. If GM lags, expect the feds to find some way of plugging the gap as with fleet sales to itself. Given that the president is deep enough into the minutia of running GM to pick its headquarters location, be assured that he will be pulling whatever federal government strings need pulled to assure his seizure of the car company doesn’t result in collapse before 2012.
All of which is a preview of the coming attraction that is Obamacare. The president wants a radical restructuring of healthcare, one that will centralize much more power over our lives in the federal government. Here, however, there is no bankruptcy court to shortcut the existing interests of doctors, patients and shareholders. The president will have to persuade Congress to participate in the socialization of American medicine via the “government option” he and the Pelosi/Reid leadership team are pushing. Opponents of the rationing scheme that will see federal bureaucrats in charge of standards and levels of care ought to demand that before we turn over the operation of hospitals, clinics and labs to the president, we ought to see how his car company fares.