Iacocca ridiculed

Lee Iacocca, the former Chrysler CEO who rescued his bankrupt company in 1980 with the help of a government loan, gave a slap-dash interview to the current isssue of AARP magazine in which he urged Washington to rescue the car manufacturers and had easy answers to every malady facing the nation:
— Car workers must take lower wages. “We can’t afford to pay $50 to $75 an hour to build a car. To build anything, really.”
— Health care costs: “We save 15-20 percent by building cars in Canada because the Canadian government’s paying that 15 percent for workers’ health insurance. The United States has the most expensive health care in the world, and we don’t have the best record, whether it’s in-fant mortality or whatever. We’re just not there with the rest of the world. How long can we tolerate that?”
— Energy costs: “I want an electric grid I can plug my car into. And I would start looking at nuclear power again. We smashed the atom first. What happened? We turned nuclear energy over to the lawyers. The rest of the world turned it over to the engineers.”
— The financial meltdown: “We’re drowning in debt, but our public servants are always talking about a free lunch. Nobody’s asked us to do anything but enjoy life. But think of it, just in November, 500,000 unemployed. It’s a critical time in this country.”
— What to do? “If I were president, I’d tackle jobs, health care and education. Take care of the young people. On math scores we’re at number 32 in the world. That bodes ill for the future.”

MR. IACOCCA probably thinks in much greater detail than re-porter James D. Scurlock let his readers study. It is to be hoped that he also is much more humble and much less certain that he knows the remedies to today’s collapse.
The editors of AARP’s magazine did their readers no favor by letting Iacocca tell them that any of the issues he named and solved in 25 words or less are that simple. To the contrary, the article made Chrysler’s erstwhile hero look like a simpleton while it encouraged AARPers to think that bumper-sticker argument is good for anything but hiding dings in bumpers.

— Emerson Lynn, jr.