Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


BOYCOTT: Refuse to Buy ANY Vehicles To Be Manufactured By Fiat/Chrysler/UAW/U.S. Treasury

They'll throw you in prison if you decline to pay the taxes that support the new union- and government-owned Chrysler. The president will publicly berate you, and his officials privately threaten you, if your insistence on your legal rights as a creditor complicates their plans to use taxpayer money to buy an automobile company for their union allies. But for the moment, at least, the government cannot force you to buy the products that roll off the assembly line of its experiment in central planning.

Boycotting the entire product line to be offered by the new Chrysler is a happy occasion where duty and self-interest coincide. You can be a good patriot and a smart shopper at the same time. Refusing to reward the United Auto Workers and the government that bestowed Chrysler upon them will uphold the rule of law and the principles of private enterprise. (One of the "concessions" the UAW made to Chrysler - that is, to itself - is that overtime will, henceforth, be paid only to employees who work more than 40 hours a week. Huh? Under the old contract, the one that turned Chrysler and GM into vegetables, workers started drawing overtime as soon as they met production targets, even if it was after they had worked 35, 30 or even 25 hours in a week.)

"Chrysler by Fiat" is the perfect name for America's first eminent domain manufacturing concern, one being created by arbitrary government actions that jettison law when it is inconvenient for policy goals and political coalitions. As The Economist says, "In effect Chrysler and the government have overridden the legal pecking order to put workers' health-care benefits above more senior creditors' claims, and then successfully argued in court that the alternative would be so much worse for creditors that it cannot be seriously considered. . . . The collapse of Detroit's giants is a tragedy, affecting tens of thousands of current and former workers. But the best way to offer them support is directly, not by gerrymandering the rules. The investors in these firms are easily portrayed as vultures, but many are entrusted with the savings of ordinary people, and in any case all have a legal claim that entitles them to due process. In a crisis it is easy to put politics first, but if lenders fear their rights will be abused, other firms will find it more expensive to borrow, especially if they have unionized workforces that are seen to be friendly with the government. It may be too late for Chrysler's secured creditors and if GM's lenders cannot reach a voluntary agreement, they may face a similar fate. That would establish a terrible precedent. Bankruptcy exists to sort legal claims on assets. If it becomes a tool of social policy, who will then lend to struggling firms in which the government has a political interest?"

Thankfully, refusing to buy any new Chryslers means that you will be depriving yourself of the chance to ride the next iteration of the worst cars on the road, at least on those intermittent occasions when they can be coaxed out of the garage and on to the road. Consumer Reports does not recommend a single vehicle manufactured by any Chrysler brand. A company so fouled up that it could not be salvaged by Mercedes-Benz is not likely to be transformed by the combined expertise of Fiat, union officials and government experts.

The sooner Chrysler by Fiat is driven into a bankruptcy from which it cannot be bailed out, the sooner will we repudiate the lousy products and lawless processes of thugocratic capitalism.

Categories > Economy

Discussions - 15 Comments

The thugocratic part I see; capitalism, I do not see.

However, that is a nice rant.

I am afraid I can not join in the boycott of Chrysler, since I haven't purchased an "American" car since 1999, and have no intention of doing so again. However, I will be glad to continue not buying them for the aforementioned reasons, on principle.

How ubercool of you Dante. I think this company died in 1974 with the oil embargo. When chrylser lost the big blocks they lost their best two engines. It is a shame that the company who brought us some of the most iconic cars ever made is no more, but it has been a shell(no pun intented) anyways since 74. Long live the Chargers and Cudas parked in barns and the legend of the 426 hemi. I really think the entire industry died in 74 when they started making small economy cars and lost the spirit of why we love cars. Why don't they have colors like go mango or curious yellow anymore. Let us forget the K car and various neon models and remember this once great company for the Dart Swinger and the sport fury.

So much for Union brotherhood on this one, at least for the next generation. I heard the Union is going to sell their stake in order to set up a trust to take care of themselves. Isn't a union owned company a sort of socialist dream...strange that they are in such a hurry to unload it. I hope they invest in gold only or we will hear from them again long after chrysler is gone.

I don't agree with the baillout per se but I like the way Obama/Geithner et al did it once they decided to do it. The bond holders speculated and lost(and still won overall). They were offered an amount that was greater than what they would have received in bankrupcy without government bailout. Everyone was higher on a higher indifference curve.(the taxpayer lost but actually probably didn't when bankrupcy is figured in, this is harder to say and on this point I am speculating.) The argument they brought is competitive equilibrium is sound and pure Chicago Economics.

What I can't believe is that an academic has the audacity to try to tar Chrystler and the UAW. If we go by one theory of inflation...inflation increases when workers are paid a cost of living increase that is not commesurate with any increase in productivity. Now this view seems partially right to me.

Let us then consider that the UAW never once increased its own pay beyond its productivity increase.

It isn't the UAW and Chrystler that are the problem or should be the fall people. Country music shouldn't be singing in the real world they are shutting Detroit down.

If only John Rich was singing in the real world they are shutting D.C. down.

But I am more than happy to compare increases in productivity between lawyers, lobbyists, academics and UAW workers.

This is a classic case of belonging to the group that is responsible for strangling america(think how many future lawyers you unleash) and complaining about the group that is at least producing something, in fact to argue against the chicago economists on team Obama is probably to argue against the most productive members of this relatively unproductive group.

The republican party is in part in trouble because americans are beginning to question not free markets but the nature of the lobbyists who argue for them. The evil democrats are like missles that blow up...but republicans are like missles that are duds(or in a wishful sense missles that upon impact repair dammage).

But if a physist of government which would be an economist were to try to measure the impact of republicans he might discover that the velocity of the missle did more dammage than the explosion. In this sense your political persuation or message is less important on the whole than your chosen avocation and what it contributes to D.C.

If the Obama administration happened to deprive a law firm of fat bankrupcy check, well then I feel bad for the guys who may not be able to make payments on a 900k Arlington VA home.

In addition to even come up with a lame excuse in regards investors is sad. Institutional Investors are paid a nice premium to decipher the macro and micro picture that involves what government is going to do months before they do it. If they aren't familliar with an Edgeworth Diagram and competitive equilibrium then they need to do the honorable thing and commit supuku. All this information is priced in, and they are paid the big bucks for pricing it and gambling on what they believe are the best bargains.

"other firms will find it more expensive to borrow, especially if they have unionized workforces that are seen to be friendly with the government."

Au Contraire the bond markets will actually stabilize and trade the expectation of a pareto optimal worst case disolution solution. If anything this was designed to make premiums on bonds lower. It is a Moral Hazard in the opposite direction(so many of these sorts of moral hazards make me question the pay of these institutional investors...but I am a turtle anyways)

The Dodge Ram and the Jeep are decent vehicles, and the new Dodge Charger isn't bad...still the company has a lot of work to do.

Still it isn't the UAW that has failed Chrysler so much as weak executive leadership combined with an inflationary Big Government/Lobby infested Washington. But kudos to Geithner for at least doing big government with a modicum of efficiency that might justify his COTA raise.

But I thought it was thuggish to stage a boycott?

I'll once again note how meaningless the word "thug" has become (particularly here).

"They’ll throw you in prison if you decline to pay the taxes that support the new union- and government-owned Chrysler."

...and they'll throw you in prison if you decline to pay the taxes that support any wars that you oppose, or that pay the salaries of those who spy on you (or even American soldiers calling loved ones back home).

The mainstream media wouldn’t do it. So we are trying to get your important messages to the American people. 19 This post is a suggested read at,

I am not sure how any reasonable being can fail to see the difference between the two boycotts. Were Mr. Voegeli suggesting that we should go to Chrysler dealers, dressed in uniforms, and forcibly remove and destroy the cars, then it would be the same as the bit to which you link. Mr. Voegeli is simply suggesting we don't buy the products. The thugs in France were doing rather more than that.

More seriously, in this case, the executive branch seems to have subverted the rule of law by threatening and intimidating certain classes of bondholders to surrender their legal rights, as .Mickey Kaus, and others, note. Unless and until investors can be sure that the government won't change the rules again, there will be a capital strike.

P.S. Matt raises an interesting point. What is Republican government? Given that our bureaucracy is run by liberals, and that much of our government runs on autopilot, and that Republicans never had the kind of majority that Democrats now enjoy in the both Houses, was the kind of chaos we often had during President Bush's term the inevitable result?

This reasonable being actually watched the video you linked to, and saw ZERO displays of force by the participants, no "uniforms" (everyone's wearing a green t-shirt, do you mean that? OR do you mean the security guard or possibly a police officer who seems to be calmly watching the proceedings at the 4:50 mark?), and ZERO products being "destroy[ed]". What seems to be obvious in the French video of the boycotters of Israeli products is that there's some political theater going on. Obviously, the store allowed them to hold their protest. I'm guessing that the only interpretation for that (in creative conservative minds) is that these "thugs" threatened the supermarket management.

Surely there are some differences between the two scenarios, but not those that you imagined - particularly the tired misuse of the "thug" smear.

Getting back to my (related to the orig. post, but ignored) point, if one (you) shouldn't have to pay taxes for these automaker deals, why should someone have to pay taxes for wars that they oppose?

Craig, the protesters were pulling products and produce off the shelves and out of bins and putting them into carts. Did they buy those products? Did they put them neatly and gently back where they pulled them from, so as not to inconvenience the store? I do not see those products in hand as the protesters leave the store, which would defeat the purpose of the boycott. What happened to everything they pulled from the shelves? The person making the video does not show us.

It is not obvious to me that store management were at all pleased about being the target of that protest. Could it be that to avoid the place being further trashed, the management took the course of least resistance.

Elsewhere, I find this description of a boycott; in a Tesco store: In a video of one action — over 38,000 YouTube views to date — Welsh activists load up a trolley with settlement products and push it out of the shop without paying. All the while, they calmly explain to the camera just what they are doing and why, as they pour red paint over the produce — and as British Bobbies quietly lead them away to a police van.

You are right, we do not see that happens in that other store shown in the video. Also, you might argue that destroying goods is not violent protest. Isn't it still theft? Doesn't it smack of intimidation? Why couldn't those people boycott Israeli goods by not buying them, rather than massing inside of stores and ransacking shelves, ruining the store's inventory? There will be no one on YouTube recording my not buying a Chrysler car.

As to your last point, it goes to the question of what government ought to do. By our constitution, our government is supposed engage in war, when that is deemed necessary by our elected representatives. There is nothing in there about rescuing failing businesses. Can I opt out of paying taxes for all sorts of things I do not think our government is constitutionally authorized to do? You know the answer. You also know how to stop a war you oppose. Get your representative in Congress to stop funding the war.

Getting back to my (related to the orig. post, but ignored) point, if one (you) shouldn't have to pay taxes for these automaker deals, why should someone have to pay taxes for wars that they oppose?

Because both will mean huge profits for the financial oligarchs, duh. Sad but true.

Brutus, as to that, if they do not, who will pay for future national political campaigns? Be reasonable.

"combined expertise of Fiat, union officials and government experts"

I have trouble visualizing that - it's like the square root of nothing

Fiat has a very good chance of being the biggest car company in the world, if Obama has his way; which it appears he will.

One thought, if you don't buy the cars won't you have to pay for them anyway through inflation and taxes? You will be boycotting yourself into paying for the fiatsler without actually having it.

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