Feb 052010

This is corruption. No possible good can come from a meeting between the chief regulator and the CEO of one of the companies being regulated. This is not how regulation is supposed to work. This is just an opportunity for political pressure and political concessions.

Either the cars have defects or they don’t. A meeting behind closed doors between the CEO of Toyota and a representative of Public Motors is not going to establish any facts. It’s not going to make cars any safer. The regulatory process needs to be transparent and objective, and not dependent on two guys talking nice to each other or tough to each other.

Does a public prosecutor want to meet one on one with the mafia godfather before deciding whether or not to prosecute? Does a public prosecutor want to meet one on one with the local representative of Angels of Mercy before deciding whether or not to prosecute There are proper ways of conducting interrogations. What LaHood is doing is not one of them.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Wednesday his agency is widening its probe of sudden acceleration complaints in Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles to look at the possibility of electromagnetic interference with electronic throttle systems, and said he wants to talk directly with company Chief Executive Akio Toyoda.

URL here.

What if a company like Toyota actually develops a safety problem with its cars someday, and somebody gets killed? The blood will be on the hands of the Obama administration. The government is supposed to be an honest regulator and is supposed to provide information on such things to the public, and to keep unsafe cars to go uncorrected. But now that it has a huge conflict of interest, there is no basis for the public to believe anything it says or does in the way of safety regulation. We still have the usual workings of the market to help us, but we’re deprived of a source of information we used to have. Obama took it away when he instituted the public automotive option.

What LaHood is doing is tearing down any residual shreds of confidence we may still have had that the government could be an honest regulator in spite of its huge conflict of interest.