Internal Toyota documents derided the Obama administration and Democratic Congress as “activist” and “not industry friendly,” a revelation that comes days before the giant automaker’s top executives testify on Capitol Hill amid a giant recall.
According to a presentation obtained under subpoena by the House Oversight and Government Relations committee, Toyota referred to the “changing political environment” as one of its main challenges and anticipated a “more challenging regulatory” environment under the Obama administration’s purview.
Some of us who have been in industry for a long time–and in the case of my family, longer than Toyota–have known this all too well, especially since the 1960’s. They’ve certainly had help from liberal Republicans, but the truth of the matter is that industry has been a dirty word to many on the Democrat left for half a century and more.
Adding fuel to the fire, of course, is the simple fact that the Federal government has nationalised GM and Chrysler, a favour to the trade union. That only tilts the table further.
I don’t take an uncritical view of Toyota in this situation. They have some serious problems on their hands, most, IMHO, related to what we used to call RFI (radio frequency interference) in all of the computers that control our cars these days. But events like this generally lead to grandstanding by self-righteous legislators, expansion of complex regulation (which increases the expense of vehicles) and a process that’s long on getting political mileage out of a situation rather than putting us kilometres down the road to solving our problems.
Face it: people don’t have to buy Toyota vehicles. That’s the punishment of our economic system. If, however, we were to effectively run out of the country those competitors of our state-owned companies, what kind of a choice would we have?