- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 4, 2009




Unless you wandered off the beaten path in the business pages, you probably missed the dispatch out of President Obama’s auto task force is participating in meetings that “have focused on educating the Treasury on the world of auto manufacturing.”

This is ominous news indeed, especially coupled with the administration’s forcing out of Toyota, Treasury.

Personally, I’ve always thought the White House is next door.

Several blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue, six lanes wide, have been closed off since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, and no one has come up with a good idea for what to do with an empty highway. It just sits there. It would make an ideal showcase for Treasury’s line of cars. And it would be tasteful because these would be new cars; no clunkers here.

All Treasury needs to do is string up some pennants and colored lights and start moving iron.

There are three banks on the corner for financing, and if they won’t extend credit, the Treasury’s Cash Room is right inside the front door. Help yourself to a chunk of bailout money it seems everybody else is and drive off the lot today.

I know you’re thinking unkind thoughts about what kind of car Treasury would produce.

You drive from the rear seat because that’s where Treasury secretaries are used to sitting.

The operating instructions fill eight volumes and 5,000 pages because Treasury let the Internal Revenue Service write the owner’s manual.

The body is made of crushed, reprocessed soybeans because Treasury let Congress help out and, well, the growers are a powerful lobby. But the body is recyclable you can boil it into a nutritious, high-fiber cereal that’s not bad once you get past its gray, sludgelike appearance and that makes the environmental lobby happy.

The exhaust smells like hot buttered popcorn because Treasury, no more than anybody else, can’t get this ethanol thing right.

There is no GPS, in-car TV screen, jack for your laptop or cup holder, and there’s only AM radio because, hey, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration thinks you ought to pay attention to your driving.

The car comes in two models, the Hope and the Change, because Mr. Obama is president, that’s why. The car comes with a lurid paint job luminescent lime green, fluorescent orange with neon-red trim because the National Endowment for the Arts thinks you need cheering up in these recessionary times.

Best of all, it comes with highly advanced lithium ion batteries that will power an auxiliary electric motor 800 miles after only one hour of charging from an ordinary 110-volt outlet. Actually, there is no lithium ion battery that will power the car for 800 miles. It hasn’t been invented yet. But this is the federal government. You can’t expect it to think of every little thing.

Dale McFeatters is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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