Commentary: The government once forced businesses to close. It could happen again.
By Tammy Darvish,
The question of the federal auto bailout is not about who was helped; but rather who got left behind and why.
There is no logical, legal or intelligent explanation for the federal auto task force’s abrupt action forcing thousands of privately owned businesses to shut down as part of its viability “plan.” These are businesses that were mostly family owned and operated for decades. As a result, more than 160,000 direct jobs were jeopardized for no reason, jobs that cost the American taxpayers absolutely nothing as these payrolls are funded by private citizens.
The car czars engineered the demise of Main Street, shattering the lives of thousands of Americans who were working hard and playing by the rules. These outrageous actions potentially added tens of thousands of workers to the unemployment lines all based on theory without adequate consideration to the broader economic impact.
The task force’s mistaken intrusion into the unilateral revocation of dealer’s property rights was astonishing and uncalled for, and the vital roles that auto dealers play in our communities and national economy were ignored.
The closures were allowed to happen under the false notion that auto dealerships were an expense on the automakers. Automakers own nothing that anyone sees at an auto dealership. The private owners of dealerships own their property, buildings, cars, parts, special tools, equipment, computer systems, advertising, signage and everything else. More importantly, auto dealership owners pay their employee’s salaries, while also making health care and retirement plans available and affordable. In addition, they pay millions of dollars in taxes to state and local governments, all while contributing millions more each year to their communities, business partners and local charities.
The only entity in America that should determine which private businesses survive should be that of the American people. In a free democracy such as ours, shouldn’t it be the consumer who makes the choice of who thrives and who does not? The economic impact on consumers is also clear when they are left with fewer choices and reduced competition in the market place.
Auto dealers have been trusted and loyal business partners of their manufacturers. We want our manufacturing base to thrive and grow here in America. The lesson for all is that this can — did — happen here and could happen again. This should be of great concern to all entrepreneurs in America.
We live in the greatest country the world has ever known. What makes us so great and so wonderful is our divinely inspired Constitution and our unconditional love for individual liberty. Auto dealers are the ultimate example of capitalism and the American Dream. Our Founding Fathers knew that blessing our people with individual liberties was not only a gift to our nation, but that citizens left to their own acts of commerce would know better than anyone else what goods and services to offer our citizenry, and in the end, produce the economic miracle that is the envy of the world. They knew that without economic freedoms, there would be little room for political freedoms. God bless America.
Tammy Darvish is vice president of Silver Spring-based Darcars Automotive Group and the co-author with Lillie Guyer of “Outraged: How Detroit and the Wall Street Car Czars Killed The American Dream.”