John's Opening Thoughts

Segment from “The DC Dance”

Internet Premiere
Friday, 2/18 @ 12:00pm ET
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 2/20 @ 10:30am ET
(Original Airdate)

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Synopsis

Daniel Weiss, Center for American Progress, Ron Cogan, Green Car Journal, Fred Smith, Competitive Enterprise Institute. Topic: Auto Industry Policy Debate.

If recent history is any guide, many Americans believe that the easiest way to reform our government is to attend a couple of town hall meetings, kick some politicians out of office and wait for the inevitable change to come. However there's a flaw in that formula, and it has nothing to do with the three branches of government, the Fourth Estate or the voters themselves. The formula simply doesn't account for three little letters that spell out the powerful acronym NGO.

Non-governmental organizations have a mighty hold over how Washington works. Their influence blankets everything from monetary policy to drug laws to environmental edicts. And whether they're called think tanks, foundations or associations, these organizations are the pipeline through which much political influence travels. The kind of influence that molds many of our laws, especially those that effect the auto industry.

That's why, on a recent trip to the Washington Auto Show, John McElroy made it a point to catch up with two of these DC insiders, along with a California outsider, to talk about our all-around federal automotive policies. Daniel Weiss is a Senior Fellow at the left-leaning Center for American Progress while Fred Smith is the president and founder of the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute. Both card-carrying members of the Washington NGO fraternity. Meanwhile, rounding out the panel is Ron Cogan, the editor of Green Car Journal and GreenCar.com, a leading outlet for green transportation information. And though it's based on the west coast, most of its content is driven by what happens in Washington.

So check out this week's Autoline and see why the auto industry, at times, looks a little dizzy thanks to the DC Dance.