Will Wilkinson on Obama Speech: "Oratorywise, so good. Ideawise, so weak. Combination, so dangerous."
I have one thing to add. At one point Obama says: "And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it."
Very cute phrase, but inaccurate. First, a nation cannot invent something...a nation is a collective unit of people, and cannot "invent" something. Can the nation be the President of the United States? No. Then how can "the nation" invent something? An individual person, or a small group of people, invents something.
Second, the automobile was not invented by an American! The first working (internal combustion engine driven) automobile was invented by Karl Benz and began commercial production 1885. Further German engineers refined the automobile based on Benz' 4-cylinder 4 stroke engine.
The first American to attempt an automobile was by a guy named George Selden, who refused to abandon the 2-stroke engine, which hampered the American automobile efforts for a further 20 years. Ford (whom I assume Obama was referencing) did not actually invent the automobile. Instead he developed the assembly line built, mass-produced automobile.
If anything, Ford should be credited with starting the trend in the automotive industry to overpay workers. At the time, the average unskilled worker earned $2-3 a day. Ford offered his workers $5. Fast forward 100 years, and the average assembly line worker at a car plant makes twice what they make at say...a Tyson's chicken plant.
So maybe what Obama was really saying was "I believe the nation that invented the over-paid union-protected, high-wage, low-skill worker should not walk away from interference in fair wage practices by free market capitalist corporations."
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