Friendly competition?

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Imagine what it would be like if a chief competitor of your business also had regulatory power over you -- and the national media access that goes with it.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood testified on Capitol Hill on Wednesday before the House Appropriations subcommittee on Transportation. LaHood told the subcommittee that owners of recalled Toyotas should stop driving the vehicles and get them fixed.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood testified on Capitol Hill on Wednesday before the House Appropriations subcommittee on Transportation. LaHood told the subcommittee that owners of recalled Toyotas should stop driving the vehicles and get them fixed.

That's the position Toyota finds itself in today, as the federal government -- a principal owner of GM -- investigates Toyota over problems with stuck accelerators and faulty brakes in various models and years.

We don't know if the union-friendly, GM-owning Obama administration purposely exploited Toyota's problems -- but how reckless was it of federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood tell a House subcommittee recently, "My advice is, if anybody owns one of these vehicles, stop driving it"?

Toyota's stock plummeted on the statement, which LaHood later recanted.

Certainly Toyota's problems are real, and of its own doing. Thus far, nearly 8 million Toyotas have been recalled worldwide. But LaHood's statement was irresponsible, by his own admission, and only made matters worse.

Maybe congressional hearings need to come with Hot Airbags that deploy at the first sign of stupidity. Does this administration not have any respect for the effect their utterings have on things? President Obama also recently got into hot water again for dissing Las Vegas -- which prompted the mayor to pull up the president's welcome mat.

Making LaHood's statement all the more thorny is the administration's obvious conflict of interest: It is now the majority owner of Toyota competitor GM.

Competitors should not also be regulators.

White House Deputy Spokesman Bill Burton was asked if LaHood's statement was reflective of that conflict of interest. Burton said it was not.

We'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Surely the administration's first and only priority in the matter is safety. But as long as the government is a stakeholder in a car company, its regulation of other car companies is problematic and will raise these kinds of questions.

The car industry, Burton said, is "something the president never wanted to get involved in."

So maybe he should get out of it.

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southernguy08
532
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southernguy08 02/08/10 - 06:25 am
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LaHood is acting more like
Unpublished

LaHood is acting more like "the hood."

TechLover
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TechLover 02/08/10 - 09:35 am
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Toyota screwed up millions of

Toyota screwed up millions of cars and somehow it's Obama's fault that it's government's responsibility to regulate safety? That's stretching it a bit even for the AC. How about Ga Power doling out money and getting sweetheart deals from the legislature and the PSC, or the insurance industry funding the campaigns of the Insurance Commissioner? Now that's a conflict of interest.

TheFederalist
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TheFederalist 02/08/10 - 09:36 am
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Here is a perfect

Here is a perfect illustration of just why our government has no business being involved in the private sector. Mr. LaHood is just another in a long line of incompetents that speak before they think, but here is the real question? How can our government be competing in the open market, when they are the same ones who must police that market? Can you say, "Conflict of Interest"? Mr Hussein and his, "Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight", are once again barking up a tree they are unable to climb. I was thinking the other day that for the last 13 months, the inmates are truly running the asylum.

harley_52
25888
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harley_52 02/08/10 - 11:10 am
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They should get out of it,

They should get out of it, because they should never have been in it.

Toyota is in a no-win situation as are owners of Toyota products whose vehicles have depreciated in value at least ten percent, according to news reports. I'm one of those owners and I consider the two thousand dollar depreciation just another Obama Administration tax increase for my family. As the Chronicle Editorial so inartfully points out, it's just another bad break from the many "stuck accelerators and faulty breaks in various models and years."

deekster
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deekster 02/08/10 - 11:47 am
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Destroy the American Economy.

Destroy the American Economy. Destroy the American Economy. The "mantra" of our esteemed leader. Our great wealth was "our wall". Our "iron curtain". A defense from external interference. The "mantra" is real and it is now. Nothing else makes sense.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 02/08/10 - 01:32 pm
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Hmmmm, this is exactly what I

Hmmmm, this is exactly what I pointed out in a post on a Toyota article this weekend (AC, maybe you need to hire me!). It all seems too suspicious that Toyota is being so demonized over a recall. Many other car companies have had major recalls and I don't remember this sort of hoopla. Poor Toyota is even having to run ads to rebuild consumer confidence.

Is all seems too fishy to me. The unions and the current administration have total access the main stream "puppet" media. I think this is being done intentionally to hurt Toyota and help Government motors and the auto manufacturer's unions (and thus union jobs).

Before all the liberals get their panties in a wad, no, I'm not a conspiracy theorist, just a realist and a studier of rotten politics.

johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 02/08/10 - 02:43 pm
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I, too, wondered out loud if

I, too, wondered out loud if this administration and its union partner may have been involved in the manufacture and possibly the "mis-manufacture" of parts installed in Toyotas. There's currently no evidence of this, but one of the many unintended consequences of confiscating and nationalizing GM is that everything done to a competitor - in the name of regulation, of course - looks like competitor control the old fashioned way. Obama's buddy, Chavez, is very good at this type of thing.

disssman
6
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disssman 02/08/10 - 07:23 pm
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Deekster isn't your rally cry

Deekster isn't your rally cry really "the sky is falling, the sky is falling". I wonder id LaHood had said "we have some minor problems with Toyota and folks don't need to worry about them at this time" would the CONS have been shouting the the administration dosen't care about safety? Give me a break. What the real problem is, is a fear amoung the CONS that a non-union operation is living up to the old saying "you get what you pay for". Pay workers cheap and you get cheap products. Sorry

johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 02/08/10 - 09:13 pm
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disssman, your post is

disssman, your post is EXACTLY why so many see Obama/union fingerprints all over the Toyota recall and HUGE news stories from the Obama press.

disssman
6
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disssman 02/09/10 - 11:50 am
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Jcliff are you saying maybe

Jcliff are you saying maybe Toyota outsourced their production to GM. BTW today it got even worse for the Toyota conglomerate. The Prius was built shoddy also. You still forgot my Q as to what would have been the CON response if LaHood had said don't worry just drive them till you hear a crash?

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