March 21, 2016
Self -Driving Cars, Anyone?
The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing this week on the technology advancements being made for self- driving cars. They explored the role of government in areas of federally funded testing facilities to privacy and regulation. As the arrival in the marketplace of these vehicles becomes more and more imminent, one immediately assumes that the tech giants will build the cars. But where does that leave the auto companies? A senior representative from General Motors at the hearing dismissed the notion that automobiles could be retrofitted.
Speaking to reporters at the Geneva Auto Show recently, Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler, suggests the answer lies in partnerships between the tech and auto companies as they already have the platform to make automobiles— he warns technology giants:
“If they have any urges to make a car, I’d advise them to lie down and wait until the feeling passes,” Marchionne told journalists. “Illnesses like this come and go, you will recover from them, they’re not lethal.”
Although the GOP Senate is unlikely to budge, President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland as his Supreme Court nominee is a stroke of sheer brilliance. While conventional wisdom had him taking a bigger risk he effectively now dares the Senate Majority to not hold hearings or even confirm him. How can the GOP Senate argue in good faith against his proven moderate and centrist record on the bench? They are now in a very tough spot.
The Pension Benefits Guarantee Corporation protects the retirement savings of more than 40 million workers in the United States. Congress has the right to raise and lower premiums that participating employers pay into the fund, as they see fit, but the funds are not to be used for other federal spending. And it should remain that way. However, Congress has been using the premiums’ funds as an off-set for other spending. Doing so requires Congress to raise premiums, causing them to skyrocket and projections over the next few years have them reaching unaffordable levels for most employers. The PBGC was created to protect American Workers’ pensions (or guarantee them as the name suggests). Using the funds for other purposes is damaging to the program and is bad policy for businesses and the people they employ. Congress should not use the program as an offset. It should encourage employers to stay in the plan and stop raising premiums unnecessarily.