Your Tax Dollars At Work Edition – The Government and Autonomous Cars

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January 15, 2016


Your Tax Dollars At Work Edition – The Government and Autonomous Cars


Image courtesy of Nissan and Wikipedia
Image courtesy of Nissan and Wikipedia



No. No! NO! The government should not be giving tax dollars to research and support technology from the private sector. That’s not how this works. Unless, America.

Our government wants to give $4 billion to help develop autonomous cars. It’s the way of the future, I get it. Maybe I don’t love it, but at least I get it. Last week autonomous vehicle tech was in the news and featured heavily at CES and there is great potential. But giving money to help the research and expedite the process? I’m not on board with that, and here’s why:

First, our government getting involved in anything new-tech-related hasn’t exactly been successful. Last year, for example, the Department of Energy’s loan guarantees for clean energy projects and research cost taxpayers $2.2 billion in losses. Does Solyndra ring a bell? Anyone? The hydrogen car? Fisker? A quick Google search will net you many, many failures. And not all of them occurred during our current President’s two terms. The bottom line is this: the government should not be involved in funding this research. That’s probably not a popular stance, but so what? Anytime money, government and technology are involved, we should as vigilant, responsible citizens—not paranoid or reactionary—ask “Cui bono?” Who benefits?

Call me a cynic—though I prefer the term realist—but I ask the right questions, follow the clues and usually find that someone in politics will benefit from government funded research. And by benefit, I mean make money for themselves or their friends.

Second, Self-driving tech was coming along just fine until our government decided to get involved. Just look at last week’s CES announcement and plans. If tech corporations and auto manufacturers have the goods, why not let them keep it?

Third, we don’t have that $4 billion in the budget. I’m sorry but we just can’t keep writing checks we can’t cash. Debt. We have debt. Do we just add more debt to the crushing pile of debt to fund the future of automotive safety? I’m not saying that the government needs to check with us every time it wants to do something stupid—we are a representative government after all, and not a direct democracy—but adding more debt isn’t in our best interest.

And as I said earlier, the government isn’t exactly known for picking winning horses, so to speak. If the government wants in, I would think twice.

But what do you think?

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My Final Thought:

Be careful, out there, folks! It’s dangerous:

Oh, and, uh, if you see birds gathering on jungle gyms… or anywhere… RUN.

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Love Your Car! See you next week!

–Lauren Fix

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