President Obama, Op-ed, WSJ

The EPA and the Department of Transportation worked with auto makers, labor unions, states like California, and environmental advocates this past spring to turn a tangle of rules into one aggressive new standard. It was a victory for car companies that wanted regulatory certainty; for consumers who will pay less at the pump; for our security, as we save 1.8 billion barrels of oil; and for the environment as we reduce pollution.
The Wall Street Journal, 01.18.2011

This excerpt (and others yet to come) from the President’s op-ed in today’s WSJ causes me to go “hmmmm…”

First, is the win-win(-win-win) scenario painted in this word picture: Everybody got what they wanted and they all lived happily ever after. Sounds just a bit like a fairy tale, don’t it? When was the last time you believed in a fairy tale?

Second would be just an aside, merely an observation. If I’m going to be paying less at the pump, when exactly does that start and why has the price of gas gone up one-fifth of a dollar in just the last couple weeks? In addition, I would say that “pay less at the pump” carries with it some rather large assumptions, and could possibly harbor some implications of coercion to make itself true.

Assumption #1: The price of gasoline will remain constant, or at least stable. Ummm… sure. It could happen.
Assumption #2: Meeting stricter guidelines will not adversely affect the price of a new car. (See assumption #1).

An aside to the above aside: my Grandfather taught me to spell assume thusly: ass/u/me

Thirdly, in my constant campaign of “words matter”, the phrase “one, aggressive new standard” scares the hell out of me. Word by word: “one” – single entity, indicating more centralized control; “aggressive” – meaning more intrusive, more oversight and that means more taxpayer funded jobs to do the oversight and the intruding and to oversee (maybe) each other; “new” – a good word in most instances, except from the mouth, or pen of a politician, in which case it generally means greater expense, waste and congealed power; “standard” – in political speak, in its most benign form could mean designing a horse by committee—a camel, in other words. In its more ‘aggressive’ forms, this could mean fewer choices, fewer distinctions. After all, a standard, by definition, imposes a lack of deviation and implies a punishment, or perhaps consequence is a better word choice, in varying degrees of severity for not following, meeting, or observing the standard. So, we have a call for a larger government entity with more intrusive and regulatory powers over a once, vibrant, free market industry, and a likelihood of forced or at least fewer choices for the public at large. But, hey! It’s a win-win(-win-win)!

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