Mr. President, Oprah's got the Right Idea

We know they’re chummy. We know she knows cars – she’s given them to every member of her audience before. So why shouldn’t President Obama install his pal Oprah as the new federal Car Czar and let her run one more government giveaway lollapalooza?

Let’s not kid around. We are going to give GM unlimited numbers of billions of dollars to keep its UAW workers employed until they voluntarily retire with those “golden parachute” buy-outs that so offend Obama when executives get them.

So let’s just buy cars. Buy all the cars they can make. Have GM stop making anything but that cute little golf cart they’re calling the Volt, and buy millions of ‘em every year. Make every elected official, all government bureaucrats and field agents drive them. Every CEO of a company getting bail-out money, too. Oprah can give one free to everybody who buys a house in foreclosure – with the gifting done to crowds in stadiums, televised live, every night. The messiah loves crowds in stadiums.  

But why stop there? Have her hand them out as freebies to everybody making less than some decided-upon income … it does sound vaguely familiar, doesn’t it? A chicken in every pot, a car in every garage.

Hang ‘em from trees on the White House lawn and let the little kiddies get them during the Easter car hunt. Barter them for world peace: Obama can sit down for tea with vile dictators and give them Chevys in exchange for promises not to attack our embassies, ships, citizens or buildings. Park a bunch of them outside San Francisco and let those endangered little mice Pelosi’s so worried about live in them. In fact, make some without wheels to give out as home-pods for the homeless. If they’ll cut holes in these things’ roofs, they can be sold as Christmas tree stands; stick the tree through the roof, plug the lights into the dashboard, plug the car into the wall socket. Make the headlights flash and horn beep to the tune of “Santas’s Coming to Town” with the remote. Appropriate ‘cuz Santa has come to Washington.

The hardest thing to swallow about Santa is the idea he can deliver toys to every home in just one night. But when you see just how much money President Obama’s been able to throw around in just 30-odd days, you begin to think anything’s possible.

One big difference: the real Santa makes the toys he gives away – and actually does create jobs, for elves and reindeer. Santabama pays for the toys he gives away with money he steals from you and me. He creates nothing. He is a bigger thief than Madoff times 10,000. And an even bigger con artist. He is no more interested in economic recovery or stimulus or, for that matter, fairness than O.J. has been in finding the real killer. He is about socialist consolidation of power, nothing more, nothing less. Unless he’s just an imbecile, which I don’t think anyone would accuse him of.

Back to the auto industry mess. With very, very, rare exceptions, the media reports on and pundits discuss this evolving scandal with the premise accepted that if we lose these two car companies – GM and Chrysler – we lose the auto industry in toto. On a Sunday morning talkfest this past weekend, the governor of Michigan plaintively squealed at a counterpart from another state that he apparently wants to live in a country that makes nothing. But the other governor is from a state with a factory making cars, owned by a company that isn’t bankrupt.

This premise is dunderheaded. Why does the media insist on presenting it as reality? There once were something like 2,000 American car-makers. There was once a Big 4. The fourth, American Motors, came from Rambler, which came from Nash, and which handed Jeep over to Chrysler. American Motors’ failure did not end auto-making or all other manufacture here. Nor would GM’s. Americans will buy about 8-million new cars in 2009. Somebody’s going to make them and well-run companies can and will compete for that business. And these cars won’t all come from a workshop in Samoa, in kits sold in boxes at IKEA stores.

Failed companies are supposed to fail and disappear. Airlines have gone; there are still airlines. It is just not the role of government to use taxpayers’ money to interfere. When government picks which privately owned enterprises to prop up and which not to, those decisions never get made for business reasons; they’re made for political reasons. They punish well-run companies by funding failing or failed companies, grossly distorting economic reality. They do this, they say, in order to preserve jobs. But in truth those jobs would move, not disappear. It’s disgraceful that the media accepts this faulty, fraudulent premise and sells it to the public.

One more job left for Oprah. There’s that huge inventory of unsold, politically objectionable, gas guzzling Hummers. Who can she give those to?

Dan Kennedy is a serial entrepreneur, adviser to business owners, sought-after speaker and author of 13 books. More information about Dan can be found at, and a free collection of his business resources including newsletters and webinars at