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The Quest for Clean Water and the Right to Buy a Tesla in Michigan

Written By Jeff Siegel

Posted February 3, 2016

rsnyderIn 2014, Michigan governor Rick Snyder made a very important decision.

A decision that likely trumps any other decision he’s ever had to make.

We’re talking about a decision that was based on what was not only best for the taxpayers of Michigan, but what was in the best interests of national security.

That decision …

To ban the business model of directly selling cars to customers.

Royally Screwed

In an effort to service the state’s dealership monopoly like a meth-addicted truckstop hooker, Governor Snyder went out of his way to ensure that no car company could sell a single vehicle unless it went through the borderline illegal dealership model created by, well, the dealerships.

And the icing on the cake was that the only car company to get royally screwed by this decision was one that makes electric cars – Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) Certainly this must’ve given Rick quite an erection. After all, electric cars are much better for the environment than internal combustion vehicles. And he’ll have none of that treehugging nonsense.

Let’s face it, when it comes to treating the planet like a giant toilet, Rick Snyder is fan. Just ask the nearly 100,000 residents of Flint who’ve been drinking lead-flavored water for more than a year now.

Some of these folks were complaining as far back as 2014, right after the state decided to save a few bucks by drawing Flint’s water from the Flint River instead of Detroit’s system. But apparently no one in the Governor’s mansion was interested in hearing about it. That is, until the folks over at GM started complaining. As a result, the governor quietly spent nearly a half million dollars to get GM hooked back up to Lake Huron’s water. But that was just for GM. Another real-life subsidy that’ll never find its way onto a balance sheet.

And for everyone else, it was all the lead you can drink, for a low, low price!

About that Email …

Of course, Snyder claims he knew nothing about the problem, despite a recent email that was uncovered thanks to a freedom-of-information request.

The email shows that both Snyder and a then-chief of staff to a health department official were not only aware of the problem, but concerned about it. Well, at least one of them.

I’m frustrated by the water issue in Flint I really don’t think people are getting the benefit of the doubt. Now they are concerned and rightfully so about the lead level studies they are receiving. These folks are scared and worried about the health impacts and they are basically getting blown off by us (as a state we’re just not sympathizing with their plight).

But Snyder, I guess, was too busy saving the Wolverine State from the evil electric car peddler Elon Musk to make sure that the residents of Flint weren’t being poisoned by the water coming out of their faucets.

Of course, Tesla hasn’t walked away. In fact, the company recently applied for licenses to sell and service its vehicles in Michigan. If the Secretary of State approves the applications, Tesla can start selling and buying vehicles. If not, the company will likely sue the shit out of Michigan. And given the issues the state is dealing with right now, I suspect the governor might be a little less of a dick about banning Tesla from a state that really should be embracing the next evolution of automotive technology and design.

But then again, it’s the old guard of Detroit that nearly put Detroit automakers out of business just a few years ago. And Snyder is definitely a representative of the old guard.

Bottom line: Guys like Snyder are doing more to destroy the state of Michigan than to help it.

An antiquated sense of protectionism coupled with the incompetence of a fork-tongued politician will sink Michigan further into an economic abyss. That is, unless the good folks of Michigan vote these bastards out and get someone in the governor’s mansion who embraces real free markets, where things like dealership laws go to die.

The fact that Tesla even has to jump through all these hoops just sell a car in the state of Michigan just shows that in some parts of the country, there remains extreme prejudice against anything that threatens to disrupt an industry that is in desperate need of disruption.

But no matter how hard they fight, Tesla is still going to come out ahead. And that, dear reader, is good for investors, good for consumers, and good for the planet.