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Goodyear News Triggers Knee-Jerk Reaction

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Find something to keep you from buying the pop on the company.

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Greetings from New York where I try to be loyal to my roots, even when they make it all but impossible. For instance, I'm a native Minnesotan. You won't get me to say a thing about the Land of 10,000 Lakes at gunpoint; which is why I refuse to even mention the Brett Farve signing.

More germane to the topic at hand, I'm passionate about my country and the (more or less) free markets that fuel it. Then I come into the office and see America starting a tariff skirmish with China over tires. That's right, tires. As in "the Goodyear blimp is no longer worth the expense because of the interchangeable nature of" tires. We're allowing our elected officials to to use the expense of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq without any plans for withdrawal. We're spending money we as a society don't have to pay for a health-care plan that doesn't yet exist. We've dumped billions, if not trillions, in saving assorted corporations of "critical national interest."

In the long-term, the decisions we make over the next decade will determine whether our children live in the greatest country on Earth or a suburb of Beijing. It's the most delicate international dance we've engaged in since Mr. Gorbachev "told down that Wall. We -- and we're all responsible for this, regardless of how you voted -- are choosing to wage this battle over, it would seem, anything from the bottom to the top of automobiles.

I'm big on skipping ahead in books that pain me too much to read in detail. That being the case, allow me to skip to the end of the story of the "US versus China": We lose. We lose on cars, tires, currency, and maybe even culture. We're England circa 1900, and not only are we not doing what we can to avoid their fate, we seem determined to use the exact same game plan. As the philosopher Lou Holtz once said, "The saddest four words in the English language are 'what might have been.' "

Learn it now while our Internet is still more or less uncensored. At the very least, a Google (GOOG) binge will keep you from buying the pop on Goodyear (GT) this morning. In less sky-is-falling news:


  • My old pals at Boeing (BA) announced that Asia will be the world's largest aviation market over the next 20 years. While Boeing's Dreamliner will presumably be operational by 2029, that may not be soon enough. The Chinese, tired of waiting, have been scaling back orders for the Dreamliner as well as started making planes themselves. The problem with defending companies out of patriotism is much like refusing to scold puppies because you "don't want to be mean." All you're doing is creating a lousy creature.

  • McDonald's (MCD) is hanging on to its position by the thinnest of threads. My fault; I know much better than to stick with a name based on their amazing track record of performance after that performance starts eroding, as happened to McDonald's last month. Justify my love, Ronald -- and do it in short order.

  • It's not a political statement but worth noting: The best stimulus programs address problems in the here and now rather than lofty, vague, multi-decade goals. Despite spending his after-life as a national punch-line of laissez-faire heartlessness, Herbert Hoover did, in fact, launch the Hoover Dam less than two years after the crash. It seems a dam -- that to this day, lights Las Vegas -- is more logical than distributing wealth to the poor by selling them cars on the tab of the "rich."

  • Finally, something that only interests Lou Holtz and gambling degenerates like, um, my friends: In the last 21 years of the Notre Dame-Michigan football games, the favorite is 3-18 against the spread. Last Saturday, Michigan, a three-point dog, erased exactly that deficit with a touchdown in the waning seconds. I'm just saying.
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Position in MCD

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