Michigan Just Chose the Wrong Side of History

In case you missed it, the WSJ had a pretty rough editorial yesterday correctly blasting Michigan governor Rick Snyder for caving into the car dealer lobby and banning Tesla from selling cars in the state.


In this case, WSJ laid out clearly that Snyder’s decision is a bad one on just about every level:

Direct sale of cars to buyers, whether by Tesla or more established manufacturers, gives consumers more choice and more control over how much they want to pay for a new vehicle. It creates downward pressure on prices, leaving more money in the car-buying public’s pockets. The dealer status quo, protected Tuesday by Governor Snyder and General Motors, does the opposite. It benefits some at the expense of everyone else.

The worst part, from a capitalist perspective, about the decision is the great irony that Michigan, long the home of American automotive manufacturing, should turn its back on the only successful new automotive company of any scale to emerge in this country in the last half-century. How sad, indeed, that in an act of brazen political cynicism Michigan should deny the company that’s trying to reinvent the automotive industry the ability to give consumers wider and better choices.

Again, as the WSJ editors note:

Mr. Snyder and his GOP legislature may think this act of inbred protectionism two weeks before the election will guarantee their re-election. But doing this deal makes it more likely that a second Snyder term will consist of a return to the state’s low-growth status quo. It is the sort of flip-flop that breeds cynicism among Republican conservatives about the political leadership of their own party.

A quick scan through the reader comments after the piece tells the coda to the story: most readers understand that this is another last gasp of the horrible car dealers lobby and that, in the end, history is on the side of Tesla and the other companies that I hope follow its model. These companies are trying to restore American automotive excellence. That Michigan should chose to ban the future of the industry it once symbolized is a shame for the state and for its allegedly pro-business administration.

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