We really do. I’ll prove it to you with the aid of two brief examples, neither of which is the fact that the Supreme Court of our esteemed nation had to decide which forms of birth control one particular business is forced to provide its customers.
Enduring, tenacious entrepreneurial spirit is one of the bedrocks of our great nation. Historically, we adapt, innovate and invent as well or better than anyone. Franklin, Edison, Ford and Jobs are but a few that stand out in my mind. It was years before Howard Schultz turned over a dime of profit at Starbucks. Instead, he consistently dumped his money back into the company and leveraged back-breaking debt to help it grow. In doing so, he assumed tremendous risk. The guy had a wife and kids, even in the company’s early years. That’s high stakes poker. It’s not as if he had the luxury of crashing on a buddy’s Seattle couch during the lean times. These people not only had vision, they also had the stones to see it through.
You’re supposed to hate rich people, I think. That’s what I read in the news. Filthy one-percenters, and that. I’m not talking about the Paris Hiltons of the world who were handed the keys to the Bentley. I’m talking about those who earned it through hard work and the assumption of risk, with or without any amount of fortuitous circumstance. I don’t hate rich people. I admire many of them. I want them to make more money. Our system is set up for them to do just that. If you don’t like it, drop the 9-5, put it all on the table, and spin the wheel. The only mystery to me in any of this is why anyone cares what Paris Hilton thinks about the current events in Gaza.
Consider the curious case study of Uber. Have you Uber’d? Although not available in every market, it’s a replacement taxi of sorts. You get an app for your smart phone, from which you can summon a ride. Your phone knows your location, which is transmitted to available drivers, one of whom will fulfill your transportation needs. The app will give you a reasonably precise estimate of the cost of your trip, and then you can watch the car drive to you on a map. Your credit card information is on file with the company, so no money changes hands. You don’t even tip. When your car arrives, you get a text message, or the driver can call you on your cellphone. At the completion of the trip, you get a text message receipt that details the complete breakdown of the fees. The cars are clean. The drivers are courteous. I’ve yet to have a bad experience. There is no manual insertion of random fees on the meter. You don’t have to worry about the driver taking a circuitous route that you can’t negotiate because he is from Azerbaijan. It. Is. Awesome. Which is exactly why we hate it. Uber has been sued and/or issued cease-and-desist letters in at least eight cities and states. Taxi companies and their drivers are losing money. Because they are arguably good people trying to earn a living, I’m sorry for them, but someone found a way to do it better. Much better. We should embrace that. It is, after all, the American way.
Another thing you are “supposed” to embrace is the alternative energy movement and commitment to reducing the effects of fossil fuels on climate change. I know this because I’ve heard the President speak publicly about it more than once. It’s the kind of thing that gets the tree-huggers all frothy and lathered. I’m a moderate tree-hugger, so don’t judge.
I’ve only ridden in a Tesla vehicle once. With prices that start at $70K, they are out of my price range. To be clear, I could afford to buy one if willing to forsake a number of other amenities, but I very much choose otherwise. I’m more of a pay $15K cash for a nice, used vehicle in decent condition that gets good gas mileage kind of guy. That’s not the right path; it’s just my path.
Elon Musk’s (yeah, the Paypal and SpaceX guy) goal in launching Tesla was to introduce an all-electric vehicle with premium performance ability into the market, eventually at an affordable price. Indeed, the Model 3 is expected to debut in 2017 at only $35K. Make no mistake. These are really nice cars. They are whisper-quiet with rocket-like acceleration. Because the drive-train does not rely on a traditional motor, there is ample trunk-space in the front and back. And the console resembles a fighter-cockpit more than it does the interior of a car.
Don’t ask me what the guy in the windshield is doing. He probably should move.
To keep costs down, Tesla does not sell its cars in traditional dealerships. Instead, potential customers go to small showrooms to learn more about the company and its vehicles. Why? Because in 22 states, and the District of Columbia, dealership protection laws prevent Tesla from openly conducting test drives or even discussing the price of their vehicles. Customers must either order their vehicle direct from the company website or go to another state. From where I sit, “dealership protection laws” sound like a euphemism for “business-unfriendly”. We have a company that produces a remarkable, environmentally-beneficial vehicle at a fair (albeit high) price, and we’re worried about protecting dealerships with legislation. Maybe, just maybe, dealerships shouldn’t be protected. Cost-savings passed on to the customer free up capital for other purchases. Why is that so awful? Is it really necessary for me to go to a dealership so I can be swarmed by guys with bad comb-overs? If it’s all the same to you, I’ll pass. I’d rather chew on aluminum-foil than sit in the room with “the closer” who is trying to up-sell me on $4K rust-proofing and an extended warranty I don’t need, no matter how hard he tries to make it seem like he is my friend. I’d much rather pour out my cup of bad instant coffee and be on my way.
Tesla supporters accumulated more than the 100,000 signatures required in order to file a petition on the White House administration’s We the People website in an effort to allow the vehicles to be sold in all 50 states without restriction. The petition doesn’t guarantee success, of course, just a response. The response was lukewarm, if not sickening in its hypocrisy.
Thanks for your We the People petition. We’re excited about the next generation of transportation choices, including the kind of electric vehicles that Tesla and others have developed. These companies are taking steps to help spur innovation in the promising area of advanced batteries and electric automobiles. Vehicle electrification and other advanced technologies are vital components of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, and his commitment to addressing climate change and reducing carbon pollution, in addition to reducing our dependence on oil.
But as you know, laws regulating auto sales are issues that have traditionally sat with lawmakers at the state level.
“Traditionally sat with lawmakers at the state level.” I just spat out my gum. No, we certainly have no history of infringing on states’ rights. Not recently, anyway.
The President has taken historic action to spur more consumer choice — saving consumers money at the pump and reducing our dependence on oil. Here are some of the ways we’re helping to encourage the future generation of energy-efficient cars: (yadda, yadda, yadda)
As these initiatives show, the Administration is in favor of fostering competition in the market to help spur the kinds of innovation needed to support ongoing U.S. leadership in vehicle manufacturing and a potential range of new technologies.
Again, thank you for your petition.
In other words, no, but thank you for giving us the opportunity to tell you how awesome we are. Please continue to adapt, innovate and invent, just don’t expect any help from us. We are very selective in our infringements.