What goes around, etc. Volkswagen, “the people’s car,” was the brainchild of well known and vicious dictator and now has been hit with a time- release curse of its own making.
Automakers in general would rather live with their flaws than admit them even when people die. But Ford recovered from the famous exploding Pinto. And it looks like GM is recovering from its death- dealing self- deactivating ignition switches.
Can VW do the same now that we’ve found out about its toxic diesels? Exploding Pintos and faulty switches are mistakes. Corrected badly and way too late, yet still mistakes.
But rigging a car that follows orders about when and how to behave and when to belch out hazardous fumes and not to -- like when it’s being tested -- is something else.
While the class action lawyers circle like buzzards, and the dealers looking to cover their eventual losses circle like vultures, we have to ask “what is the right thing to do now.”
The obvious answers are:
The factory buys back the faulty cars.
The various affected countries fine VW.
The guy who caused creation of the shyster software goes to jail, along with the rest of the executives who knew what was happening and failed to stop it.
No one will die as a direct result of these belching fumes, at least not right away. No trees will fall over tomorrow. No species will be wiped out instantly. And the creep of the east coast toward its new home in Cincinnati won’t happen any faster.
The long term damage to air, water, plants and animals? Too early to say and anyone who tells you otherwise is either ignorant or lying. Half a million cars -- the estimated number of emissions lawbreakers -- will not make a whole lot of difference. We need to send a message.
You’ve read this here before: In this country, at least, vehicle making is the single most important of our remaining few industries and the largest buyer of metals, plastics, electronics, upholstery, glass and rubber.
The country can’t afford to allow this kind of damage. Even Adolf might agree.
--Headline: Iraq to share intelligence on ISIS with Iran, Syria and Russia. That means the NSA will have to concentrate its hacking efforts on those countries, rather than its more important target, terrorists like you. But intelligence -- by either popular definition -- is not what we need over there, and you know it.
--Outgoing House Speaker Boehner is taking a page from the playbook of his alleged arch rival, President Obama. John-boy is showing some spine by slamming the tea bags he’s been unable to herd, calling them “false prophets.” Where were you, John, when you could have done something about this?
--The thumb-on-the-scale geniuses at Whole Foods have decided to open one of their new “bargain” mini stores in Los Angeles instead of the “full service” version they had announced. This is getting all the neighborhood yuppies in a twist. Don’t worry, kids, it’s not a slam against the up-scale-itude of your neighborhood. Besides, there already are all kinds of places already open where you can pay more than you should for worse than you expect.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2015