Friday, August 4, 2017



Writing in The Times Literary Supplement Edward Luttwak argues 
that  the  Prius-owning  classes  lost  the election by  alienating America's largest voting block -- people with drivers licenses:
 "car affordability numbers revealed in June 2016 were so vastly significant in determining the outcome of the elections. Going by metropolitan areas, they extracted maximum affordable car prices from median incomes. The latter ranged from the stellar $87,210 of San Jose in the opulence of California’s Silicon Valley, all the way down to the $24,701 of deindustrialized Cleveland, Ohio, numbers that in turn yielded maximum affordable price limits of $32,855 in San Jose, and $7,558 in Cleveland – not actually the lowest number, which was Detroit’s $6,174...
What made these seemingly obscure numbers nothing less than momentous was that the cheapest new car on sale in the United States in 2016 was the Nissan Versa sedan at $12,825, twice the level that average households could afford in Detroit or Cleveland, and more than average households could afford in...a very great number of smaller localities... 
The mass exclusion of Americans from new car ownership is the result of two converging phenomena, only one of which was recognized by Hillary Clinton, though scarcely emphasized in her identity-focused campaign: wage stag­nation...the other blade of the scissors that cut off the possibility of new car ownership ... the regulatory regime that has been relentlessly forcing up new car prices... Those regulations prescribe that American cars must be very, very safe, and steadily more demanding safety requirements have been forcing up manufacturing costs:  
ever-more stringent fuel conservation norms and pollution restrictions ... strongly favour inherently more expensive hybrid cars, as well as drastically more expensive all-electric cars. And... prohibit the much lighter vehicles I happily drive in Japan... mandatory regulations that prohibit choices between better and cheaper cars force the average household in too many parts of the United States to drive second-hand, third-hand or simply very old cars that are drastically less safe, less fuel efficient and also more polluting than the prohibited cheaper new cars would be..
Historians tell us that Marie Antoinette never said that those who could not afford to eat bread could eat brioche instead – but the regulatory restrictions that grew enormously under Obama, and that Clinton promised to increase even more.. gleefully anticipated the forthcoming demise of natural gas extraction in the wake of the destruction of coal mining), faithfully reflected the mentality of the French queen.... 
the mechanically repeated assertion that... the declining cost of natural gas that is killing off the coal industry...might well be true in the future, but it is plainly not so in the present, because otherwise President Obama would not have dedicated his final months in office to a slew of new decrees calculated to increase costs and restrict production to finally strangle the industry. (Trump has already revoked most of them.)
he is securing his base by...  his sorely needed infrastructure programme that is now being prepared by wholesale deregulation – at present, newly aggravated environmental rules almost exactly double road, bridge and tunnel construction costs as compared to France, in spite of its thirty-five-hour working week, and Japan, in spite of its extreme space restrictions. "