Tom Friedman who has been waging jihad against GM has now directed his attention East towards Toyota (East as in the Rising Sun). Toyota's sin, they made the Prius and have since tried to brand themselves as Green friendly even as they roll out a bevy of new gas guzzlers. What GM and Toyota are doing is responding to consumers who until recently have sought to surround themselves with as much steel as possible. This was a sensible tendency in the context of cheap energy prices. Now gas prices are rising and consumer demand is shifting.
Friedman then goes on to complain that the industry has sought to water down CAFE regulations (fuel mileage standards). Well of course they have. And why shouldn't they? Why should GM or Ford or Toyota bear all of the costs related to curbing emissions? It is the consumers who need to emit less carbon. I understand why politicians would like to scapegoat auto manufacturers, after all, outside of Michigan there isn't much danger in doing so. However, opinion makers don't face the same pressure, which maybe vests with them the responsibility to grow a pair and not act like simpleminded wankers. While on the subject of politicians from Michigan, Friedman also singles out Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) for trying to undermine CAFE standards. That is true but Rep. Dingell has proposed a sensible carbon tax, which is an eminently preferable and more just policy. Maybe Friedman could have written a column about Dingell's legislation instead of this wet bag of shit.
Note: Wet Bag of Shit is a term coined by ManGina, er, Mandingo. A contributor emeritus to this blog.