Others are waking up to the US gov conflict of interest re Toyota

February 4, 2010

The US has big stake in GM. Toyota is GM’s big rival. Toyota has a product problem. The US government is the safety regulator and watchdog. The US government piles on Toyota–makes big news, sales crash and GM profits. Everyone’s happy. Not me. I complained about this stinky mess–an unintended consequence of Obama’s decision to bailout the company–in my last post. I have been stunned, absolutely stunned that there is no media coverage of this very clear and potential credibility busting conflict. But, now it appears that is starting to come.

Here’s one example. Note that this article starts putting the Toyota problems in context–something the headline crazed media refuse to do and can’t be expected to do. But the more the US government piles on Toyota, against this context, the more unfair it will be and appear and the more backlash there will be on the US ownership of GM. My advice to President Obama: decide what is a better and more appropriate role for the US government–watchdog and protector of the citizens or owner of a company in a highly competitive market. You can’t be both!

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3 Responses to “Others are waking up to the US gov conflict of interest re Toyota”


  1. What lessons are being demonstrated by US Govt and by Toyota in this event?

    Good posts by the way with which I agree focus on conflicts needed very much.

  2. Bill Salvin Says:

    Gerald-
    I disagree with the whole conflict of interest thing. It implies a degree of competence our government simply doesn’t possess. Plus, Treasury owns the shares in GM. NHTSA did the recall. I doubt that the Treasury Secretary has spoken with the head of that agency.

    Plus, Toyota’s actually have problems worthy of recalls.

    Where I agree with you is that our government doesn’t need to be in the car business and this is an unintended consequence.

    As always, great reading.
    Bill

  3. Todd Says:

    Great points. Government’s roll is Limited oversight, not to compete for profit. But that’s where they are now.
    Meanwhile, look at how well Ford is doing with no government bailout. We can only hope that the Feds don’t go after Ford like this.


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