Anthony Weiner now has a column at Business Insider. (!) His first effort is a broadside against Tesla for having the nerve to suggest that they should be allowed to sell cars on the free market, rather than be subject to absurd state laws that mandate cars be sold by licensed dealers with state-created monopolies within their prescribed territories.
The whole thing is ridiculous from start to finish, but I don’t have the time or energy to fisk it line by line. Basically, Weiner’s take is: this is how it’s been forever — and this is how it should be, assuming that we take it for granted that there should be overbearing regulations in this area.
I’ll pick one section to show how cloistered Weiner’s view is:
Now let me stipulate to the fact that, during my time in Congress, like many other politicians, I received donations from car dealers. I should also note you could fill a book with what I don’t know about New Jersey and I certainly don’t know who promised what to whom in this case. Of course, I’ve also got plenty of problems with Christie and his policies. Still, I think the simplistic shouts of “let the market decide!” that we’re hearing from Tesla and their supporters minimizes the legitimacy of the regulations that have been passed over the years.
Why would you want to have laws that require a car be purchased through a local dealer? Perhaps to protect a purchaser’s rights to easily enforce the warranty. To ensure the state’s ability to enforce the reams of unique state legal requirements that govern automobile sales, service and even disposal maybe. Or, it might just be a run-of-the-mill instinct for local rather than federal regulations to govern what, for many Americans, is the biggest purchase of their lives. You may not agree with these conclusions, but these are longstanding laws and there was a robust back-and-forth about them well before Tesla drove onto the scene.
The “robust back and forth” is not an exchange of ideas and arguments, of course, but rather an exchange of car dealer money in return for the passage of protectionist laws. Look at his arguments: without these protectionist laws, buyers can’t easily enforce a warranty? Why would that be the case for car warranties and not thousands of other types of warranties? Without these protectionist laws, states could not enforce reams of state legal requirements? Then repeal the reams of legal requirements! Without these protectionist laws, we would be left with federal instead of local regulations? Why not have no regulations at all?
Weiner’s argument just takes it for granted that we are going to have a crushing set of regulations and legal requirements for selling cars, and asks: what is the best way to implement the reams of laws and regulations that we all know must exist? The idea that they should be repealed is not even considered, even though economists will tell you that is the most efficient way to handle car sales.
The whole column is silly. Watching a guy who passed laws because he was handed money try to justify doing so, with zero intellectual firepower to back it up, is kind of amusing. Go watch him try. C’mon, it’s fun!