Making things is magic and changing the way things are made doesn't cost much. At least according to Mr. Obama who wants states to be in the Federal regulation business when it comes to automobiles.
President Obama will direct federal regulators on Monday to move swiftly on an application by California and 13 other states to set strict automobile emission and fuel efficiency standards, two administration officials said Sunday.The auto companies are already reeling from the bad economy and now they will be forced to re-tool their whole business. Quickly. And why does he think American auto companies are in trouble? Not enough cars of tomorrow. Seriously. It is not the unions. It is not the management. It is not quality problems. It is a lack of futuristic thinking.
The directive makes good on an Obama campaign pledge and signifies a sharp reversal of Bush administration policy. Granting California and the other states the right to regulate tailpipe emissions would be one of the most emphatic actions Mr. Obama could take to quickly put his stamp on environmental policy.
Mr. Obama’s presidential memorandum will order the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider the Bush administration’s past rejection of the California application. While it stops short of flatly ordering the Bush decision reversed, the agency’s regulators are now widely expected to do so after completing a formal review process.
Once they act, automobile manufacturers will quickly have to retool to begin producing and selling cars and trucks that get higher mileage than the national standard, and on a faster phase-in schedule. The auto companies have lobbied hard against the regulations and challenged them in court.
The first memorandum ordered the Transportation Department to work out rules for automakers to improve fuel economy. It calls for the department to notify automakers by March 2009 to increase their fuel efficiency for 2011 model year cars and trucks.The design cycle for a modified production vehicle is three to four years depending on the extent of the modifications. These would be vehicles that could be built on current production lines with existing tooling and includes a shakedown period to test the new designs and get the bugs out. Now consider that the 2011 model year goes on sale in late 2010. So by government fiat he is going to get a 3 to 4 year process compressed into 18 months. The man is a miracle worker. Ah. But that is not the worst of it. If the mandates require a major redesign it can take about 5 to 6 years to get the logistics in place. Here are the general steps:
Design new factories
Build Factory Eqpt
Negotiate work rules with unions (Detroit)
Run Pre-Production Prototypes
And he can reduce a process that takes from 3 to 6 years into 18 months by fiat? The man is a genius. Let us consider WW2 production. The rule was that in the first year (if the design was ready to go) 1 to 10 units. In the second year hundreds. In the third year - as many as you want. And that was in a simpler time when government hadn't saddled industry with a morass of regulations. Mr Obama is simply ignorant of logistics. He is operating under the rubric of "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." And of course since Mr. Obama is not a maker he has gone one step further and assumed that making things is magic and the normal rules of the universe do not apply. Time, space, energy, and the necessity to create the requsite ideas are instantly erased. You just think of what you want, wave the magic wand and presto. A million copies of your fantastic idea magically appear.
Obama said the fix will help the auto industry produce a viable product.Is he really serious about not being held hostage to dwindling resources? So where is his proposal for increasing American oil production? Not in evidence. And letting states determine what can be sold in their individual markets? That means the rules of the game will be changing frequently. Which is very bad for logistics planning. Every new rule or addition delays the production process. Mr. Obama needs to read a book. I suggest this one to start: Fundamentals of Production Planning and Control.
"We must help them thrive by building the cars of tomorrow," he said in an announcement before a live audience in the East Room of the White House.
Obama said that Washington must help states on tougher fuel standards, not work against them, and yet year after year, special interests have overshadowed common sense and rhetoric has supplanted the hard work needed to yield results.
"America will not be held hostage to dwindling resources," he said. "The days of Washington dragging its heels are over. My administration will not deny facts. We will be guided by them. ... We cannot afford to pass the buck."
The second memorandum ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider California's request for a waiver from the Clean Air Act -- a move that would allow California, the nation's most populous state, to set tougher tailpipe emission standards than apply nationally.
"Each step begins to move us in a new direction while giving us the tools that we need to change," Obama said.
This whole deal can only end badly. Very badly. What ever happened to the administration that was supposed to be guided by science? By understanding of the fundamentals of engineering and technology? I guess we are fortunate that we have not elected a manager. We have instead elected a magician. God help us. Because it is obvious Mr. Obama will not.
Cross Posted at Classical Values