Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A Conflict of Interest? [UPDATE]

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has called for drivers of Toyotas subject to the recent recall to stop driving their cars until fixed.

LaHood's warning came Wednesday in testimony before a House Appropriations subcommittee on transportation. LaHood says his advice to owners is to "stop driving it. Take it to a Toyota dealer because they believe they have a fix for it."

LaHood told reporters earlier in the day that Toyota owners should contact their dealer immediately and "exercise caution until repairs can be made."
The article goes on to rake Toyota over the coals for its many sins.

I assume that the recall has some merit. But one has to wonder if the government has other reasons for being so forceful. Two things spring immediately to mind. First, the government has an interest in GM doing well. Given that auto sales are falling and likely to remain low, the only way for GM to do well is at the expense of someone else. Second, the Administration is famously in the tank for unions, and I wonder if this is attempt to punish a non-UAW auto-maker.

I doubt whether the second bit has anything to do with this. But I can't help wondering about the first point. Yet another problem with massive government intervention in the economy - one can never be sure of the government's actual intent.

UPDATE: From AP:
LaHood told reporters it was "obviously a misstatement" when he told a House panel earlier Wednesday that he would advise owners not to drive recalled vehicles. The remark came during testimony to the Appropriations subcommittee on transportation.
Nice rollback now that the damage has been done! Now I'm really suspicious....

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