WILL TESLA BECOME ANOTHER DETROIT-STYLE TRAGEDY?
Once again, a commercial enterprise may be deliberately coerced into supporting the political agenda of the self-serving politicians who are selling their political votes in return for campaign contributions, media attention, and voter support.
In this instance, we see the California legislature possibly trying to coerce California’s last automaker, Tesla Motors, which requires massive government subsidies to exist, into becoming the type of unionized environment that destroyed the automobile industry in Michigan.
For those who do not know where to look, the California Legislature has ignored the fact that Tesla’s workers are paid well-above unionized wages and has slipped language into the specious “cap and trade” bill that was designed to fight global warming – although no scientific institution or individual scientist can accurately find man’s climate signal among the noise of climate’s natural variability.
California Legislature has passed A.B.134, legislation that directs $900 million in funding from the state;s climate taxes to support various clean transportation, clean air, and alternative fuel initiatives. In order for Tesla, or any other California automobile manufacturer to be eligible for California’s $140 million Clean Vehicle Rebate Project subsidies it must prove to some as yet non-existent state entity that they are “fair and responsible in the treatment of their workers" before their vehicles can be eligible for the rebates. Many believe that “fair and responsible” are code words for unionization.
Instead of a benefit to workers, California is once again signaling other manufacturers that spending millions to create a plant in California is tantamount to appointing the union as the overseer and contractual arbiter of labor relations – including the possibility of continually rising wages and benefits with little or no corresponding increases in productivity or plant efficiencies. Thus increasing the labor component of each vehicle and/or part sold to the public. With the advent of increased competition of other non-California automakers, this power grab may represent a long-term existential threat to Tesla and an impetus to move Tesla’s operations to Nevada.
There is little or no doubt in my mind that Tesla has little more to offer than superb design since it’s battery technology and manufacturing processes are well-known to other larger and better-financed automakers currently operating in the mass market. Let us not forget that Tesla’s miles-per-charge in software controlled and is part of the price-point calculation; and that batteries perform poorly in cold or extremely hot environments. The use of electric vehicles for extended trips makes little sense because no matter how fast the vehicle may go in tests, the driver still must spend significant time re-charging the vehicle at limited charge stations – paying increasing amounts as electricity prices are regulated upward to produce tax revenues lost at conventional tax pumps.
In the final analysis, why would any productive worker want their company to reward seniority over merit, the status quo over innovation, thuggery over discussion, and the featherbedding of jobs to increase union membership? Why would any company accept such political and social engineering if the company was growing, profitable, and able to exist without government subsidies?