Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year! - Really? How exactly will that happen? - CL

After 3+ years on this internet mission, what have I learned?

The posts today kinda wrap it up - a wrap-up on the stock market and  

Our Exhausted American Mediocracy - By Victor Davis Hanson:

An excellent synopsis for DaLimbrawLibrary - and thank you, Sir VDH!
And my own comment to add - these self-professing 'brilliants' teach our kids, design our cars, provide our healthcare, control our speech, steal our heritage, restrict or force our associations - and a hundred other benefits which they so richly endow us with - all with our tax $$$$$ or the magical outpourings from that wonderful creation of years gone by - known as DaFed!
Will DaBlessings ever end?
God, I sure hope so!

Happy New Year Folks - and hang on!

Our Exhausted American Mediocracy - By Victor Davis Hanson

The unlikely 2016 election of Donald Trump—the first president without either prior political or military office—was a repudiation of the American “aristocracy.” By “rule of the best” I mean the ancien régime was no longer understood to suggest wealth and birth (alone), but instead envisioned itself as a supposed national meritocracy of those with proper degrees, and long service in the top hierarchies of government, media, blue-chip law firms, Wall Street, high tech, and academia.
The 2016 election and refutation of the ruling class did not signal that those without such educations and qualifications were de facto better suited to direct the country. Instead, the lesson was that the past record of governance and the current stature of our assumed best and brightest certainly did not justify their reputations or authority, much less their outsized self-regard. In short, instead of being a meritocracy, they amount to a mediocracy, neither great nor awful, but mostly mediocre.
This mediocracy is akin to late 4th-century B.C. Athenian politicians, the last generation of the Roman Republic, the late 18th-century French aristocracy, or the British bipartisan elite of the mid-1930s—their reputations relying on the greater wisdom and accomplishment of an earlier generation, while they remain convinced that their own credentials and titles are synonymous with achievement, and clueless about radical political, economic, military, and social upheavals right under their noses.
Remember the “new normal”? Our economic czars had simply decided anemic economic growth was the best Americans could expect and that 3 percent annualized GDP growth was out of the realm of possibility. Big government incompetence combined with Wall Street buccaneerism had almost melted down the economy in 2008. Recent presidents had doubled the debt—twice.
Few could explain how recent agreements such as the Paris Climate Accord or Iran deal could ever have achieved their stated aims, much less were in America’s interest. War planners had not translated interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya into strategic advantage—much less lasting victory—and never offered reasons to be in such places that appealed to half the country.
Most elites had assumed the deindustrialized red-state interior was doomed to a sort of preordained and irreversible decline, much of it supposedly self-induced. In more candid moments, elites jested that red-state losers might be better replaced by new immigrants, both legal and illegal.
Our ruling classes either could not or would not defend American traditions and civilization in our colleges, in our government, and in our popular culture—and they were increasingly accepting of the globalist consensus that America had a flawed past requiring some sort of reparatory future.
Our leadership accepted a world in which America’s misdemeanors were the source of global outrage, while China’s felonies were largely exempt from criticism. China’s global hegemony was seen as assumed and fated. Efforts to derail it were near inane or retrograde.
Most Americans figured that those who lectured them on television, in op-eds, and throughout popular culture about guns, open borders, green mandates, fossil fuels, and the public schools, had the money, desire, and clout to live in desirable neighborhoods, sometimes behind walls, with ample taste for fine cars, jet trips, and private academies for their children.
Earned Hypocrisies?
The charge of hypocrisy against the elite was considered juvenile—given that exemptions were needed for the ruling class to serve us all the better.
How could Al Gore save us from our carbon emissions without his private jet? How could Nancy Pelosi craft drastic climate change legislation without flying to a Kona resort over the holidays?
How could Eric Holder stop prejudice without a jet junket to the Belmont Stakes with his kids? How could our Malibu elite nobly sermonize about their loyal gardeners and dutiful maids without walled estates?
How could Silicon Valley wizards pontificate about the evils of charter schools and the need for teacher unions, without private academies for their own? And how exactly could the heads of our intelligence agencies and justice department officials track down the crimes of Donald Trump without committing greater ones themselves?
Much of the Trump agenda, although nominally embraced by the Republican Party after the July 2016 convention, was largely crafted in antithesis to the bipartisan status quo that either could not or would not end illegal immigration, secure the border, call China out on warping world trade, seek greater reciprocity with allies, curtail optional military interventions, massively deregulate, expand fossil fuel production, and return the federal judiciary to a constitutional and constructionist framework.
If such a nontraditional agenda had been advanced by an “acceptable” outsider or billionaire such as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, or Michael Bloomberg, it would have been seen as eccentric but nevertheless not blasphemous. However, Donald Trump advertised himself as a renegade whose own notorious apostasy was inseparable from his message, and who felt no allegiance to the political protocols and customs that had prepped past presidents. Trump’s often crude demeanor at times seemed to suggest that he was not just interested in revoking the results of status quo policymaking, but the very premises of the status quo itself.
It is easy to suggest that much of the unprecedented hatred shown Trump is the poisoned fruit of his alleged toxic persona. And yet it is hard to calibrate whether any president has faced, from the moment of his election, the level of venom shown Trump by both political parties, and by the elite media, and the centers of progressivism on Wall Street, in Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Washington, and New York.
A country that once banned for life a clown from a state fair for wearing in puerile fashion a Barack Obama mask now ritually talks of impeaching, committing to an institution, overthrowing, or beating, burning, decapitating, blowing up, and shooting the elected president.
Certainly, we have never seen anything like the constant anti-Trump media hatred, the efforts since the election to remove Trump, in slow-motion coup style, by seeking to warp the Electoral College, to invoke the 25th Amendment and the Emoluments Clause, to unleash special counsel Robert Mueller with an unlimited budget, a toadyish media, a team of partisan lawyers and investigators, and prior help from the top echelons at the Obama Department of Justice, the FBI, the National Security Council, and the CIA.
The argument of these elites and their institutions has been not just that Trump is incompetent or inexperienced, but that he is corrupt, perverse, treasonous, criminally minded, and to such a degree that the results of the 2016 should be overturned before the 2020 election. And such an end to Trump’s elected governance is justified not merely by his toxic person, but also by the racist, sexist, nativist, xenophobic Americans—the counterfeit half of the country—who elected him.
A Case Against Trump?
If these arguments of the American aristocracy were valid, we would have to accept three arguments of the best and brightest:
1) There is a clear moral, legal and popular prerogative to remove Trump.
Yet for all the efforts of the professional politicians, the lockstep media, and the elite academic, legal, and financial communities, there is neither a rational nor legal basis to remove Trump. Instead, he enjoys about the general level of support as did many past presidents at this juncture in their administrations. He has survived his first midterm in better fashion than did either Bill Clinton or Barack Obama who were both later easily reelected.
No one has yet argued that the tenures of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, or Bill Clinton—still enshrined in the progressive pantheon—were marked by less crudity. The record of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, IRS, CIA, and FBI between January 2009 and January 2017 does not qualify as “scandal free.”
It’s unlikely Trump will be convicted of any crimes as outlined by the Mueller collusion investigation. It is more likely he will prove to be the most investigated, probed, and audited president in history. And even more likely, top officials at the Justice Department, CIA, and FBI will be facing eventual legal exposure for unethical and illegal efforts to damage the Trump candidacy, transition, and presidency.
2) Trump has failed.
For all the perceived chaos and disorder in the Trump Administration, it certainly has so far achieved a stronger economic record than did his predecessors, whether adjudicated by GDP growth, unemployment, energy production, or deregulation.
Even a shaky stock market is still much higher than it was when Trump took office. Likewise, abroad, for all Trump’s supposed unpopularity, privately most Americans and many so-called experts agree that the Iran Deal was fatally flawed, the Paris Accord was a charade, the “Palestinian” problem was ossified, a radically new policy toward China was overdue, the Pentagon needed to be recalibrated, and old American partnerships were in dire need of recalibration from NATO to NAFTA.
3) There is a logical and systematic antithesis to Trumpism.
If so, will either primary or general election candidates run on open borders being preferable to secure ones? Eliminating ICE is better than maintaining it? Defense cuts are necessary? Far more gun control? Medicare for all?
There is too much American natural gas and oil production? The economy would be better off with higher unemployment and slower growth? Food stamps need to be increased not reduced by over 3 million recipients?
We are too harsh on Iran and too accommodating of Israel? Taxes are too low, government too small, and entitlements too few? Did Trump appoint too many unqualified strict constructionist judges? Were John Bolton and Mike Pompeo incompetent?
Whom Are We To Trust?
As we look to our celebrities, billionaires, intellectuals and senior statesmen, a sort of American pantheon, do we to find sources of reassurance in Hollywood, perhaps in the statements and behavior of the last two years of Cher, Barbra Streisand, Robert De Niro, Johnny Depp, or Madonna? Do the Oscars, Tonys, and Emmys showcase the expertise, competence, and professionalism of our entertainers?
Do the recent statements of the elite marginalized—a LeBron James, Alice Walker, or Tamika Mallory—remind us to reset our ethical bearings, or do they instead suggest that intersectionality can at times exempt, rather than serve as an impediment to, anti-Semitism? Has Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shown us superior erudition and common sense?
Perhaps Harvard, now facing allegations that it systematically discriminated on the basis of race, can reassure us of progressive values in these tough times? Can its first Native American professor Elizabeth Warren help us endure Trump? Or maybe Google, Facebook and Twitter can show us the way to protect our civil liberties, free expression, and non-partisanship?
Do the heads of our major entertainment and news organizations, a Harvey Weinstein and Les Moonves, offer sources of refuge in these supposedly dark Trump years? Have trusted journals like The New Republic or Der Spiegel been reliable beacons of truth?
Perhaps we can look to the elite of the media, to the careers of Dan Rather, Brian Williams, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, or Mark Halperin, or stellar writers such as Leon Wieseltier, Glenn Thrush, or Garrison Keillor to help us recover our moral bearings. Could a wide array of our best intellectuals, politicians, and activists help find our way home in in the age of Trump, perhaps truth tellers such as Doris Kearns Goodwin, Al Franken, or Dianne Feinstein?
Could not Joe Biden weigh in on the evils of plagiarism, Cory Booker cite the dangers of fabulism, Harry Reid warn of racial stereotyping, or Kamala Harris on the perils of religious bigotry?
Maybe the elites of government will be our touchstones. Trump critic, James Comey, the director of the FBI, has told Congress on 245 occasions during a single appearance that he does not know or cannot remember the answers when asked questions.
The cable television critic and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had lied under oath to Congress and fabulously claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was largely secular.
John Brennan, another cable television consultant and the former CIA head, has trumped Clapper by lying twice to Congress. Brennan also claimed that jihad was little more than a personal introspective religious journey.  Are these our watchtowers of sobriety in these dark times?
Both Hillary and Bill Clinton, by education, careers, and service, are advertisements of the ruling class. Yet, she was the godmother of the disastrous Libyan incursion, knee-deep in scandal from cattlegate to Benghazi to Uranium One, and hired a foreign national during the 2016 election to find dirt on her political opponent through the paid services of foreign sources. Bill was impeached and somehow ended up worth well over $100 million largely by selling influence on the premise he and his spouse would one day be back in the White House. The Clinton Foundation is synonymous with corruption.
So do the most acerbic critics of Trump and iconic members of our aristocracy inspire confidence?
Former National Security advisor Susan Rice, to take just one recent example of a prominent critic in the news, lied repeatedly about the Benghazi attacks, about the Bowe Bergdahl swap (the Army deserter  served, she said, “with honor and distinction”), about the sordid details of buying back hostages central to the Iran deal (“And we were very specific about the need not to link their fate to that of the negotiations”), about the elimination of weapons of mass destruction in Syria (“We were able to get the Syrian government to voluntarily and verifiably give up its chemical-weapons stockpile,”) and about the unmasking of names surveilled through FISA court warrants (“I know nothing about this”).
The point of this tour of our elite is not to excuse Trump’s often retaliatory crassness or bombast, but to remind us that our self-righteous anti- and pre-Trump aristocracy was so often a mediocracy. It had assumed status and privilege largely on suspect criteria. Its record abroad and at home inspired little confidence. Doing mostly the opposite of what elite conventional wisdom advocated since January 2017 has made the nation stronger, not weaker.
Strangest of all, the elite’s furious venom directed at Trump, couched in ethical pretense, has had the odd effect to remind the American people how unethical and incompetent these people were, are, and likely will continue to be.
Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact
About the Author: Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is an American military historian, columnist, former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He was a professor of classics at California State University, Fresno, and is currently the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Hanson is also a farmer (growing raisin grapes on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author most recently of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict was Fought and Won (Basic Books).

2019: Zombie Markets Before The Fall | Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer

I haven’t really written about finance since April of this year, and given recent fluctuations in what people persist in calling the markets, maybe it’s time. Then again, nothing has changed since that article in April entitled This Is Not A Market. I was right then, and I still am.
[..] markets need price discovery as much as price discovery needs markets. They are two sides of the same coin. Markets are the mechanism that makes price discovery possible, and vice versa. Functioning markets, that is. Given the interdependence between the two, we must conclude that when there is no price discovery, there are no functioning markets. And a market that doesn’t function is not a market at all.
[..] we must wonder why everyone in the financial world, and the media, is still talking about ‘the markets’ (stocks, bonds et al) as if they still existed. Is it because they think there still is price discovery? Or do they think that even without price discovery, you can still have functioning markets? Or is their idea that a market is still a market even if it doesn’t function?
But perhaps that is confusing, and confusion in and of itself doesn’t lead to better understanding. So maybe I should call what there is out there today ‘zombie markets’. It doesn’t really make much difference. What murdered functioning markets is intervention by central banks, in alleged attempts to save those same markets. Cue your favorite horror movie.
Now Jerome Powell and the Fed he inherited are apparently trying to undo the misery Greenspan, Bernanke and Yellen before him wrought upon the economic system, and people, cue Trump, get into fights about that one. All the while still handing the Fed, the ECB, the BoJ, much more power than they should ever have been granted.
And you won’t get actual markets back until that power is wrestled from their cold dead zombie fingers. Even then, the damage will be hard to oversee, and it will take decades. The bankers and investors their free and easy trillions were bestowed upon will be just fine, thank you, but everyone else will definitely not be.
Central banks don’t serve societies, they serve banks. They fool everyone, politicians first of all, into believing that societies automatically do well if only the demands of banks are met first, and as obviously stupid as that sounds, nary a squeak of protest can be heard. Least of all from ‘market participants’ who have done nothing for the better part of this millennium except feast at the teat of main street largesse.
In the past few days we’ve had both -stock- market rallies and plunges of 5% or so, and people have started to realize that is not normal, and it scares them. So you get Tyler posting DataTrek’s Nicolas Colas saying “Healthy” Markets Don’t Rally 1,086 Points On The Dow. Well, he’s kinda right, but there hasn’t been a healthy market in 10+ years, and he’s missed that last bit. Like most people have who work in those so-called ‘markets’.

Here’s why Colas is right, but doesn’t understand why. Price discovery is the flipside of the coin that is a functional market, because it allows for people to see why something is valued at the level it is, by a large(r) number of participants. Take that away and it is obvious that violent price swings may start occurring as soon as the comforting money teat stutters, or even just threatens to do so; a rumor is enough.
In physics terms, price discovery, and therefore markets themselves -provided they’re ‘healthy’ and ‘functioning’- delivers negative feedback to the system, i.e. it injects self-correcting measures. Take away price discovery, in other words kill the market, and you get positive feedback, where -simplified- changes tend to lead to ever bigger changes until something breaks.
Also, different markets, like stocks, bonds, housing, will keep a check on each other, so nothing will reach insane valuations. If they tend to, people stop buying and will shift their money somewhere else. But when everything has an insane value, how would people know what’s insane anymore, and where could they shift that is not insane?
It doesn’t matter much for ‘market participants’, or ‘investors’ as they prefer to label themselves, they shift trillions around on a daily basis just to justify their paychecks, but for mom and pop it’s a whole different story. In between the two you have pension funds, whose rapid forced move from AAA assets to risk will strangle mom and pop’s old-age plans no matter what.

People inevitably talk about the chances of a recession happening, but maybe they should first ask what exactly a recession, or a bear market, is or means when it occurs in a zombie (or just plain dead) market.
If asset ‘values’ have increased by 50% because central banks and companies themselves have bought stocks, it would seem logical that a 10% drop doesn’t have the same meaning as it would in a marketplace where no such manipulation has taken place. Maybe a 50% drop would make more sense then.
The inevitable future is that people are going to get tired of borrowing as soon as it becomes too expensive, hence unattractive, to do so. Central banks can still do more QE, and keep rates low for longer, but that’s not an infinity and beyond move. It a simple question of the longer it lasts the higher will be the price that has to be paid. One more, one last, simple question: who’s going to pay? We all know, don’t we?

That’s where the Fed is now. You can let interest rates rise, as Powell et al are indicating they want to do, but that will cut off debt growth, and since debt is exclusively what keeps the economy going, it will cut into economic growth as well. Or you can keep interest rates low (and lower), but then people have less and less idea of the actual value of assets, which can, and eventually necessarily will, cause people to flee from these assets.
Powell’s rate hikes schedule looks nice from a normalizing point of view, and g-d knows what normal is anymore, but it would massacre the zombie markets the Fed itself created when it decided to kill the actual markets. You can get back to normal, but only if the Fed retreats into the Eccles Building and stays there until 2050 or so (or is abolished).
They won’t, the banks whose interests they protect will soon be in far too dire straits, and bailouts have become much harder to come by since 2008. It’ll be a long time before markets actually function again, and we won’t get there without a world of pain. Which will be felt by those who never participated in the so-called markets to begin with. Beware of yellow vests.
To top off the perversity of zombie markets, one more thing. Zombie markets build overcapacity. One of the best things price discovery brings to an economy is that it lets zombies die, that bankrupt companies and bankrupt ideas go the way of the dodo.
That, again, is negative feedback. Take that away, as low rates and free money do, and you end up with positive feedback, which makes zombies appear alive, and distorts the valuation of everything.
Most of what the ‘popular’ financial press discusses is about stocks, what the Dow and S&P have done for the day. But the bond markets are much bigger. So what are we to think when the two are completely out of sync -and whack-?

Oh well, those are just ‘the markets’, and we already know that they are living dead. Where that may be less obvious, if only because nobody wants it to be true, is in housing markets. Which, though this is being kept from you with much effort, are what’s keeping the entire US, and most of Europe’s, economies going. And guess what?
The Fed and Draghi have just about hit the max on home prices (check 2019 for the sequel). Prices have gotten too high, Jay Powell wants higher interest rates, Draghi can’t be left too far behind him because EU money would all flow to the US, and it’s all well on its way to inevitability.
And anyway, the only thing that’s being achieved with ever higher home prices is ever more debt for the people who buy them, and who will all be on the hook if those prices are subject to the negative feedback loops healthy markets must be subject too, or else.
The only parties who have profited from rising home prices are the banks who dole out the mortgages and the zombie economy that relies on them creating the money society runs on that way. We have all come to rely on a bunch of zombies to keep ourselves from debt slavery, and no, zombies are not actually alive. Nor are the financial markets, and the economies, that prop them up.
Among the first things in 2019 you will see enormous amounts of junk rated debt getting rated ever -and faster- lower , and the pace at which ever more debt that is not yet junk, downgraded to(wards) junk, accelerating. It looks like the zombies can never totally take over, but that is little comfort to those neck deep in debt even before we start falling.
And as for the ‘players’, the economic model will allow again for them to shove the losses of their braindead ventures onto the destiny of those with ever lower paying jobs, who if they’re lucky enough to be young enough, start their careers in those jobs with ever higher student debts.
You’d think that at some point they should be happy they were never sufficiently credit-worthy to afford one of the grossly overpriced properties that are swung like so many carrots before their eyes, but that’s not how the system works. The system will always find a way to keep pushing them deeper into the financial swamp somehow.
The last remaining growth industry our societies have left is inequality, and that’s what our central banks and governments are all betting on to keep Jack Sparrow’s Flying Dutchman afloat for a while longer. Where the poor get squeezed more so the 1% or 10% get to look good a little longer.
But in the end it’s all zombies all the way down, like the turtles, and some equivalent of the yellow vests will pop up in unexpected places. My prediction for next year.
It doesn’t look to me that a year from now we’ll see 2019 as a particular peaceful year, not at all like 2018. I called it from Chaos to Mayhem earlier, and I’m sticking with that. We’re done borrowing from the future, it’s getting time to pay back those loans from that future.
And that ain’t going to happen when there are no functioning markets; after all, how does anyone know what to pay back when the only thing they do know is everything is way overvalued? How wrong can I be when I say debts will only be paid back at fair value?
2019, guys, big year.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Why No Saaaaaaaaafety Exemption for The Little People? - EPautos - Libertarian Car Talk


You may have caught my article about the brand-new 1960s Mustangs you can legally buy – upgraded in all the right places but left alone everywhere else.
They have modern, fuel-injected engines, high-capacity four-wheel-disc brakes and modern suspensions that make them the equal – or better – of a brand-new (2019) Mustang not only in terms of performance but also everyday driveability, low maintenance and long-haul durability, too.
Also their emissions – which are as low as the new Mustang’s and so Uncle-approved.
But they haven’t got any of the other stuff Uncle has been mandating since the 1960s that may have made cars more crashworthy but also less beautiful and individual. No air bags homogenize the  steering wheels; no federally-approved bumpers mar the classic lines of these reborn Mustangs – which look exactly like the originals because they are original.
It’s the same sheetmetal, just newly stamped – fully authorized by Ford – and allowed by Uncle.
This is fine – but also not-so-fine because it’s effectively an exemption for the rich only.
These Mustangs – and a few other similar models, all of them reproductions of classic cars from the ‘60s and ‘70s – are priced well over six figures, chiefly because the exemption is granted for a very small number of vehicles (no more than 500 in a year).
The cars are hand-built to the nth degree of detail and fastidiousness. But the real reason for the high cost is  . . . the high cost. Building a small handful of cars for sale means you can’t exploit economies of scale. Every low-volume car is an expensive car, almost by definition. The manufacturer has to make a lot of money on each car because he’s only selling a few cars. A manufacturer of lots of cars, on the other hand, can make just a few bucks on each car and still make a great deal of money.
The best historic example of this is, of course, the Model T Ford – which sold for less with each new model year because Ford was selling more of them each year.
But we’re not allowed to have a modern Model T – a simple car updated in all the right places – that we can afford. Not necessarily a reproduction Model T – but in principle. How about a reproduction 1983-1987 Honda CRX, for instance? That car delivered better gas mileage than any new car – including hybrid new cars.
Sixty-eight miles per gallon (for the HF version) and that was 35 years ago.
It did so via light weight, chiefly. The car weighed less than 1,800 lbs. and so a very small (1.3 liter) and not very powerful (58 horsepower) engine was sufficient – and more than that.
It was fun.
Manual transmission. Sport-tuned suspension. People bought it as much for the mileage as for the enjoyment of driving the thing.
And it was cheap.
$7,668 back in ’83 – which is just under $20k today.
Imagine such a car reborn – and like the six-figure classic Mustangs, upgraded in all the right places – but otherwise left as they were. Lighter than the originals, perhaps. Via the use of modern (and now affordable) composite materials for the body that weren’t affordable back in the early-mid 1980s.
But no air bags – they weren’t around in the ’80s – and (like the reborn Mustangs) exempt from all the federal saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety folderol that has been imposed on new cars since the ’80s.
And not just a handful of them, either.
How about as many of them as people are willing to buy? So that they wouldn’t be for the rich only.
Why not?
How is it that some cars – expensive ones – are exempted from the regulatory folderol which everyone else is forced to accept?
Isn’t that more or less the same thing as the government allowing people who earn a six figure salary to skip making  “contributions” to Social Security since they won’t need a monthly government check in their dotage?
If it is not saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe for any new car to be built without air bags and back-up cameras and all the other things, why does the government allow some old cars to be resurrected, but only for the enjoyment of those deep-pocketed enough to be able to buy them?
Do the deep-pocketed have thicker skulls to protect them in crashes? Are they exempt from “the laws of physics” the government always ululates about to justify its cosseting of us at bayonet-point?
Don’t forget – it’s illegal for you and me to even temporarily disable a defective air bag (the Takata time bombs) until such time as they can be replaced with non-defective ones. But someone with enough bucks can buy a brand-new 1967 Mustang GT without any air bags at all and it’s perfectly legal.
Some animals are, indeed, more equal than others.
But there’s no legitimate reason why they ought to be.
One can make a morally persuasive case that a new car’s emissions be within a certain spec since emissions over a certain threshold can affect the health of other people. This includes new old cars like the ’60s Mustangs being manufactured by Revology.
But the presence or absence of air bags in a car affects no one except perhaps the person in the car – and even then, only potentially.
If it’s ok by Uncle for a guy who can drop $167,000 on a “new” 1967 Mustang GT to drive around without air bags, then it ought to be ok for you and me to drive around in a “new” 1983 CRX – or maybe a ’78 Dodge Dart or a ’70 VW Beetle – without them, too.
Of course, Uncle won’t ok it precisely because there would be a mass exodus away from Uncle-approved new cars into much more affordable (and far more fun) new old cars such as an updated ’83 CRX, ’78 Dodge Dart or ’70 VW Beetle.
It would crater the new (new) car business – which builds cars to government-spec at our expense, because we’re not allowed the option to opt out.
But Uncle always allows exceptions – and exemptions – for those who can afford them or who have the right connections.
Which gives you some idea as to what Uncle is really up to, his ululations about saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety (and many other things) notwithstanding.
. . .
Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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