Home / Culture and Society / Camrys, Corruption and Congress – Oh My!

Camrys, Corruption and Congress – Oh My!

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

This will be short and sweet but something that I think is worth monitoring quite closely. There’s a storm coming in the automotive market and it’s called Toyota. As we know, Toyota has broken ahead of GM in sales world-wide but that surge has come to a screeching halt and not because of faulty brakes. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is backing off a comment he made this morning before Congress regarding Toyota's recall issues. “My advice is if anyone owns one of these vehicles, stop driving it,” said LaHood. Now the Transportation Secretary is backing off his initial comment and I have to ask why? Is it because it's going to cost a LOT of cash to get out of this one?   Let’s look at the totality of the situation as it stands.

Overall, it is estimated 8 million Toyotas are to be recalled world-wide. Judging by past performance when it comes to spin, let’s just round it up to 9 million. Toyota claims dealers will be open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to fix the cornucopia of issues which have surfaced. That’s all well and good, but who exactly is going to pay the price? Let’s say it costs Toyota $100 per automobile. That’s $900 million, folks. Toyota already lost $7.1 billion in the last two years. Their goal was to turn a profit starting in April. That isn’t going to happen. Toyota’s January sales are projected to be off 14% for January alone. That may be good news for US automakers but is it?

I’m waiting for the spin here, folks. How long will it be before Toyota claims that their American manufacturing facilities are to blame? How long will it take for the publicists to place the blame on the US autoworkers? We’re hearing rumblings in Congress about hearings. Let’s face it. This is an election year and members of Congress are going to spin every disaster they can to take our attention away from the real issues which confront our society. Toyota is going to be yet another political smokescreen which will take our minds off a horrific economy, health care reform failure and big bonuses at AIG and Bank of America. It won’t be long before Conservatives and Libertarians will claim too much government involvement in the Toyota debacle. My argument is quite to the contrary. It has been the Federal Government’s lack of safety oversight which contributes to the problem.

Just days before the Presidential Elections in 2008, George W. Bush’s Administration pushed to rewrite a wide array of federal rules with changes or additions that could block product-safety lawsuits by consumers and states. A year later Ed O’Keefe reported in the Washington Post about the performance of the Federal Consumer Products Safety Commission. What becomes clear in the article is the CPSC’s poor performance record. They way I see it, this is one area which requires the role of government in our lives. I’m all for government creating a level playing field in order to allow our free market capitalist society to thrive but it must be done with the knowledge that corporations who manufacture and sell products which are unsafe must be held to a higher level of accountability.

In the United States corporate executives routinely get away with shoddy management. In China, they get executed. Granted, China’s reaction may be extreme but when it comes to the safety and well being of consumers, what punishment is appropriate when corporate executives turn a blind eye to safety issues? Consumer product safety was not in the cross-hairs of the Bush Administration because they were too busy using scare tactics concerning domestic security. Is not the safety of products sold in the marketplace an integral part of domestic security? While Congress gears up to put on a Broadway-style production featuring indignant politicians and contrite Toyota executives, we Americans need to look beyond the hype at the bigger picture. The automotive industry is about to get hit with a loss of Toyota’s making. And somehow consumers around the globe will pay the price. The Japanese government has summoned Mr. Toyota himself — short of falling on his sword, I don’t see him worming his way out of this in Japan.

The Toyota situation is yet another manifestation of just how ineffective our federal system of government has become. There was a time when Americans were proud to buy American manufactured products. We’ve replaced pride in our purchases with him that has the most wins — regardless of quality. We’ve devolved into a society where we’ve no respect for government officials yet remain indifferent in challenging the status quo. We’ve got corrupt special interests financially supporting self-serving politicians who have no clue what it means to be a public servant. Our food supply is compromised. Automobiles are unsafe. Toys we buy our kids might poison them. So when your Camry goes off the cliff filled with the latest spoils of your weekly spending spree at WalMart, thank your Congressman.

Powered by


  • Silas, That was referring to me, Always, remain teachable.

  • And I was very pleased with what you said about Frank Luntz. Socialism,Unions,Liberal, and on and on.
    If he can demonize it,then we will reject it.

    People in a herd mentality tend to act like sheep.

    I was not calling you a mammal.

  • Silas,

    I have as usual, either misinterpreted your comment written directly to me, or you have failed to fully read my response. Either way, we all have issues. So, can we talk?

    :[ and, instead of painting all union members as thugs, or slurring any other group with a big broad brush , maybe we could all soften our language towards each other.Is this possible?

  • We all remain capable of being taught. My passion in life has become our public education system or the lack thereof. Had I to do it over again, I would have been a teacher. I would have relished the opportunity to challenge the minds of our youth and taught them about what it really took to make this country what it is. There’s no accountability, sense of national pride or comprehensive civics being taught in the majority of our public schools. We remain stuck in a quagmire of agri-cation which uses the farming paradigm to dictate how schools are administered. Our children are our most precious resource and we haven’t recognized that simple notion since the 60’s. It’s amazing to me that in the litigious society we have become more adults haven’t gone to court and sued their own parents for malpractice.

  • Silas- is just convinced even more so that the American public education system has failed for at least two generations.

    This, is where you are truly mistaken concerning me.

    I was really ripped off in my early education by a politically – motivated – catholic school, that was not equipped to handle a child with a learning disability.

    I could, freak out all over you right now. But instead, I am going to learn to communicate, and write well – thought-out and publishable articles here at BC.

    This is why, I firmly believe in quality public education, and not siphoning all the talent and resources to the private schools.

    🙂 Always, remain teachable.

  • Silas,

    I like what Fitzboodle is saying here.

    Every working engineer knows why this sort of thing occurs: management keeps cutting corners to cheapen things and may even layoff the good experienced engineer to hire some guy at half wages who doesn’t know what he’s doing.

    I would like to add that we should not replace everything on earth with plastic just because it’s cheaper. But, then again plastic is a by product of the oil and recycling industries.

    We are all, fools. I am a recycling nut.

    So,keep buying plastic and when you throw it away, they’ll melt it down and sell it to you all over again. BRILLIANT!

    And I was very surprised and pleased with what you said about Frank Luntz. Do you know why I asked you that question?
    Because this is the man who is waging a war on our language.I’d find a link, but today I’m not spinning my wheels. Socialism,Unions,Liberal, and on and on.
    If he can demonize it we will reject it. People in a heard mentality tend to act like sheep.

    I had to think about my last comment on this thread and I do believe that we can all come to some sort of common ground.

  • cannonshop

    Deano, you and I realize it’s just a sticky part on a car, and anyone rational would realize it’s just a sticky part on a car-recalls happen all the goddamn time

    What you don’t realize, apparently, is how the chicken-littles can blow this out of proportion to make political bank with the millions of Americans who are NOT rational people.

  • how like to call workers lazy all the time.

    There’s a noun missing in there, but I sure hope it’s not “you” because I defy you to find an example of me calling workers lazy.


  • If anyone saw Kudlow on CNBC tonight, I think they would get a true sense of what I’m trying to convey. There’s a lot of resentment toward Toyota and its impact on the American Auto Industry which, of course, is giving the UAW fuel for their fire.

  • I find Frank Luntz to be morally bankrupt and a tumor on humanity.

  • Silas,

    Please give it a rest, already.

    What I mean is, I find it ironic that you can publish without even one link, and I am not trying to make you a socialist.

    ( Not, that this would be a bad idea right now considering what this un-checked love for the almighty dollar is doing to us all!) Do you listen to Frank Luntz?

    Just asking,

  • But, it still stands that unless you can prove this somehow in a link ,then you still do not have the right to just say whatever comes to mind.

    What, I’m not allowed to have an opinion? What is this, the United Socialist States of America? I’m not mad at all — just convinced even more so that the American public education system has failed for at least two generations.

  • Bye Silas,

    Jeannie/Jeannie the Button Pusher, has some ritin to do.

    :] Please don’t be mad.

  • Deano, #26,

    Yes, it is a sticky part on a car. And,if we didn’t have a good government here, Then we wouldn’t even know that.
    There would be no recall, it would be deemed, owner mistake!

    Hear that Ruvy? :}

  • Deano


    There are any number of reasons why a recall might be limited in Japan and Korea vs. the North American / European recalls that have precisely nothing to do with trying to “blame” American workers or American facilities. It would be dependent on where the parts were sourced first off. Production facilities in Asia may not be utilizing the same suppliers as North America (actually I can guarantee you they aren’t using the same suppliers) consequently the problem may not be across all regions that they are active in.

    In general, most Japanese cars sold in North America are now manufactured in North America with a specific percentage of parts and value being sourced from North American parts suppliers. So a problem with the North American models might well stem from a defect or engineering problem in North American sourced parts. Pulling the NA models, even in overseas markets, is what is required.

    Second, not every jurisdiction has recall requirements that function in the same way. In the US, you have the NTSB that can force a recall if they deem it required. I am unsure if a similar governmental oversight is in place in Japan but if it is, I guarantee you again it is not driven by the same litigation-rich environment and the same cost-benefit analysis as is operational in North America or even Europe.

    Aside from that element, I would guess that there is much less likelihood in Japan of positioning this to “blame” American workers or plants and more likely a specific fear of US politicians wanting to curry votes and favour with their own consituents will leap upon this occasion to implement new, more stingient controls or policies on foreign manufacturers, particularly in the wake of the problems in the last year for the US auto makers.

    I suspect this will provide a grand occasion for political grandstanding and more “buy American” policies, conveniently forgetting the litany of quality problems that have plagued Detroit for the last 30 years. This is doubtlessly why Congress is suddenly jumping onboard this issue – it has a direct impact on constituants, they can visibly be seen protecting “American” industry and get a great deal of mileage out of the story. It is pure political opportunism at work. Gosh, what a surprise, politicos leaping on a bandwagon and sounding off….Quelle surprise!

    Ruvy, the fact that you “caught onto the message” means precisely nothing. Claiming that this nonsense is some oogedy-boogedy conspiracy to distract everyone from the realities of the world is fairly silly. Unless you are driving an effected Toyota or losing money on your Toyota stock, this is just another business story. The vast majority of people will read it, shrug and turn the page (or click the link) and move onto the next item.

    Its a recall. It will cost Toyota lots of money. Certain heads in Toyota management will roll. It will have a business impact on the auto industry, on market share and on Wall Street. That’s it, end of story. To dress it up as part of a grand distraction plan or vast cabel is arrant nonsense.

  • Silas,

    I would be interested in seeing this information for myself in the form of a link.
    You went to great lengths to explain yourself there didn’t you?
    But, it still stands that unless you can prove this somehow in a link ,then you still do not have the right to just say whatever comes to mind.


    I didn’t write this article, you did.

    see if this helps you.

  • The perils of mass production.

  • FitzBoodle

    Every working engineer knows why this sort of thing occurs: management keeps cutting corners to cheapen things and may even layoff the good experienced engineer to hire some guy at half wages who doesn’t know what he’s doing.

    Maybe this is what happened: the engineer designed a pivot comprised of a nylon (or whatever is best these days) plastic piece with a bore holding a hardened steel axle. The boss comes in and says “the nylon piece costs 45 cents but we could make it out of slag for 35 cents, saving 10 cents per car, so for 8 million cars that’s $800,000. How do you justify your wasting $800k on this insignificant part?” Maybe the engineer protests that it will last longer and that it is standard art. Boss says “who cares as long as we get past the new car warranty period?”

    So the plastic is changed from nylon to slag plastic.

    But that’s not the end. Now Boss comes back and complains that the hardened shaft is too expensive because it takes an extra process. “We can save 20 cents on every shaft by not hardening it and just using plain rod stock. That makes $1.6million on the production run”.

    So you end up with a mild steel shaft in a slag plastic piece, which wears quickly with the least bit of dust, becomes eccentric and finally binds. then when the driver lets off on the gas the accelerator is stuck and the car crashes into the car in front at a red light.

    So what happens to the poor engineer? He was already passed over for a raise. The boss says to HIS boss “if I hadn’t investigated that engineer would have cost the company $2.4million in unnecessary fabrication costs: no raise!”

    Probably, the engineer got laid off and then replaced by some green kid who doesn’t know better. And he makes a better employee because his scruples are lower and he’s so scared for his job that he never makes a protest.

    But that 30 cent per car savings gets bragged all up the management ladder as a $2.4million saving that each boss claims as his own.

    It happens all the time. You could call it “Management Malpractice”.

  • You’re still being mysterious, Silas.
    Spell it out for Chrissake, even if you have to go out on a limb.

  • Thanks, Ruvy. I’m a listener. When I view reports in the MSM be it MSNBC, BBC, whatever, I listen for not only the words but the manner in which they are spoken. If you listen carefully to Asian reporters or read their reports, there is a sense that the tide is going against Toyota North America. At some point Akio Toyoda is going to have to account to Japanese officials. What he says to his government will dictate how Toyota plays this hand. And that, to me, is of major concern in this economic crisis.

  • Ruvy


    Note what the author of the article says here: Yes, Jeannie, it was a good question. And you’ve lost my point in its entirety. Ruvy caught on to the message, so let me try again.

    There are a number of Toyota Camry vehicles that will malfunction: they should be recalled. But the way the MSM was/is and will handle this will create a distraction from the real problems of state. Better you should all scream at each other over who is at fault for a faulty accelerator than who is at fault for a collapsed economy.

    That is how distractions work. No oogie boogie conspiracy with tin-foil hats. Just a little sleight of hand to keep you from seeing the real problems – till they hit you over the head with a sledge-hammer.

  • Of course, but they issue from different quarters. Which is to say that any event is subject to any number of spins.

    I’m surprised, though, that South Korea has any part of negative anti-US campaign. Or is it?

    Of course, you can’t expect the Japanese to own up to ever having made a mistake. It’s against their national character. And so, it would seem that internal politics is the biggest “beneficiary” of the Toyota fiasco – as evidenced by Stupak’s sudden turnaround.

    But I think there are even more important ramifications. Since the West and its allies are unlikely to recover soon from the economic crisis, this may be a preamble to economic wars. And I’m not any conspiracy theorist, just so you know.

  • They’re in a tandem dynamic, Roger. In Asia, there will be scuttlebutt saying it’s Toyota North America’s fault. Members of Congress will blame Toyota. There will be the usual political positioning to feed the MSM frenzy. And in the end? Somebody gets screwed. Who usually does?

  • Kind of two trends at work here, Silas. Blame the US being one and using the Toyota’s mishap for political purposes. Which one of the two you’d like to emphasize?

  • Yes, Jeannie, it was a good question. And you’ve lost my point in its entirety. Ruvy caught on to the message, so let me try again.

    1. I’ve been watching the immersion of the MSM in the Toyota recall and its ramifications. I happened to read a quick story from AP coming out of Seoul and I posted the bulletin verbatim on this thread. If you read the language carefully you will find the Toyotas specifically manufactured in North America were cited in the recall while the 19,000 Toyotas manufactured in Japan were not. Those weren’t MY words, Jeannie. They were made from a Ministry office in South Korea.

    2. Globally there are up to 9 million vehicles involved in the recall. Obviously, not EVERY vehicle is going to kill an operator. However, several incidents of mechanical or electronic failure are indicative of a defect, period. That’s within the jurisdiction of consumer product safety. That’s a role government should play and has done a piss poor job in doing so.

    3. Toyota lost money the last two years. They were poised to make money in the next year. Now they’re faced with a recall which could conservatively be estimated at costing $1 billion based on an average cost of $100 per car in the recall. Is this far fetched? Nope. It’s a pretty reasonable argument.

    4. Washington politicians are in a divisive election year cycle. Things are more volatile in Washington than they have been since the Clinton scandals. The powers that be need a diversion away from them. Toyota happens to be a very popular product owned by millions of Americans. What better way to divert our attention than to give them something that affects them directly (the consumer, that is). Congress reacts. They take advantage of the MSM hype. Example: Bart Stupak has been getting a lot of heat for his involvement in thwarting the health care debate. Now all of a sudden he’s front and center in the Congressional “concern” over Toyota. All of a sudden Stupak is the champion of the consumer. Not so fast. He’s still a misoginyst, self-serving, uterus hating, piece of work. But he’s “saving” consumers from the “evils” of Toyota.

    All I am trying to accomplish here is point out that the foundation has been poured. At this point, they’re targeting Toyotas manufactured in North America. Draw your own conclusions but from my vantage point I smell a rat. Somehow this thing will be spinned to blame the North American Division of Toyota. When in doubt, blame the United States.

  • Thank you.:)

  • Clavos

    Good question, Jeannie…

  • Deano

    Yes Ruvy, because nothing says let’s forget about the deficit, the war(s), the economic collapse etc. like a recalled Toyota.

    It’s all part of a vast consipiracy designed to cloud and misdirect the public’s perceptions while the secretive shadowy conspiracy forments its nefarious global plot to…um…well…what are they plotting this week?

    Or you might consider the strange and bizarre possibility THAT ITS JUST A FREAKIN’ STICKY PART ON A CAR!

  • Silas,

    Why is there not one link in this article to prove your point?

    Now, that was civil.

  • 19, 20 Sorry Dave. I hadn’t read Silas’ comment. Out of context, like that, all I could think of was how like to call workers lazy all the time. I figured you’d finally gone all the way around the bend.

  • Ruvy

    OK kids,

    I’ve seen this before many times in Israel. If you want to divert attention from a scandal or a crisis (an assassination, a forced expulsion of citizens from their homes, etc.) you create a diversion. Before Rabin was assassinated, Shaba”k agents created diversions so as to shift all public blame to right-wingers and religious Jews. Lo and behold! A right wing religious Jew was forced to take the blame for killing Rabin! Before Gush Qatif, the Shaba”k wanted to divert sympathetic attention away from the expellees, so they found an AWOL kid, drugged him up and brainwashed him to shoot up a bus in Shwaram, an Arab-Druze village.


    This business with the Camry’s is the perfect example of a diversion compelling enough to take your eyes off the budget, the national debt, the break the economy “health care” proposals, the “bank tax”, nuclear Iran, and a host of other things your administration has prepared as goodies for you.

    That’s is what’s going down. Open your eyes and pay attention! The way your government is exaggerating this whole Camry thing is a diversion. And it is just the kind of diversion that will get your attention because you will all wonder if your car, whether it is a Toy or not, needs to be recalled for some reason or another.

  • cannonshop

    Tens of millions of cars, a few million MIGHT have a problem (but it wasn’t inspectors from the government, or consumer groups, that caught it-it was Toyota…)

    There’s an assumed risk when you drive a car, PERIOD. Notably, the manufacturer’s recalling them and fixing it.

    WE still need Government inspections and regs-but the damn inspections have to be DONE, they have to be DONE RIGHT, or they’re worse than useless.

    AS it is, I expect this WILL be a poltical football, because it’s bloody Toyota. Toyota doesn’t have many defective products in their history, whereas GM, Ford and Chrysler recalls are common enough that they don’t even make the local news at greater than “short soundbite with pictures at noon” on a slow newsday.

  • Ruvy

    Where do I sign up to buy a few of these recalled Camry’s? I know a whole bunch of wonderful uhm people I would love to gift with one.

  • Cindy, #12 was obvious sarcasm, pointing out the dehumanizing working conditions in korea and japan. The self-righteous cluelessness becomes tedious.

    But my original point remains valid, that the number of actual cases of accidents caused by this problem doesn’t necessarily justify the panic.


  • zingzing

    cindy… i think dave was being sarcastic… unless you are being sarcastic… i’m pretty [and] confused.

    roger: “Another possible scenario: a pretext for economic wars.”

    see my #8. i think that an out of control accelerator is a good enough reason to recall a car, but this has been pretty big news, and i wonder if it’s an attempt (so far successful) to pull sales towards american car companies. shrug.

  • But aren’t they recalling the Toyotas in Japan as well? They wouldn’t be doing that if only vehicles manufactured in US were possibly defective?

    Another possible scenario: a pretext for economic wars.

  • Dave is just a worker-hating petty bourgeoiose guy, hiding under a title of Libertarian.

  • 12 – Holy shit, Dave. What a hostile, antisocial human being you are. I bet if you could develop a system that did just that, but allowed you your personal freedom, you’d be pretty happy with it.

  • No, Roger, we don’t. But read the report out of Seoul:

    SEOUL (AP) – The South Korean government says Toyota’s local unit is recalling 444 vehicles over defects in gas pedals and floor mats.

    The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said in a statement released Wednesday the vehicles were made in North America, and the more than 19,000 Toyota vehicles imported from Japan weren’t part of the recall.

    Now, I’m not a rocket scientist, Roger, but…???

  • So where is the truth, Silas? Do we know it for a fact that only Toyota USA produced a potentially-defective vehicle?

  • That’s not my point, Dave. Toyota needs a scapegoat. It’s all about public relations in this world, no fact checking, just image. The MSM needs to sell minutes and what better story to entice GM, Ford and Chrysler to buy commercials on MSNBC, CNN and FOX. It must be their turn for a piece of the pie.

  • It’s our slipshod, overpaid workers, Silas. If they were paid half as much and lived in corporate housing with exercises at 6am and lunch served in cardboard boxes they’d work harder and do a better job.


  • Well, South Korea has recalled 444 Toyotas ALL of which were manufactured in the United States. Toyota models manufactured in Japan were not part of the recall. Now, my friends, that’s the news out of Asia tonight. I smell it. I’m calling it. This is going to get pinned on the United States.

  • And how about your wife and kids?

    Real Libertarians do not to get too attached to their wife and kids.

  • zingzing

    well, not “this” month, of course… but last month. i’m pretty sure they’re still up for this month as well, but those figures don’t come out 3 days into the month, so i can’t say.

  • zingzing

    “There are 8 million POTENTIAL problem cars, but only a handful have actually gone awry. The vast majority may never manifest this problem. The intensity of the uproar is — as always — out of proportion to the real danger.”

    says the man not driving a car accelerating out of control.

    the uproar may be manufactured–toyota sales (-16%) are plunging, while gm (+14%) and especially ford (+25%) are surging this month (according to an article in the ny post, which is the most entertainingly ridiculous piece of shit newspaper on the planet; i don’t buy it, my roommate does, but at least he knows it’s hilarious).

  • We have claims of brake failure in Prius.

    Oh Silas, grow up and stop being such a baby, that’s part of the price we pay for all of the benefits which [brakes] bring us.

  • I should have added that your point is valid, except that in any case involving safety, the response is somewhat justifiable.

    To wit, would you not respond to the Toyota recall and opt for driving the potentially-unsafe vehicle at your own peril? And how about your wife and kids?

  • That may be so, but potential danger is cause enough for massive recall. If it weren’t so, Toyota wouldn’t jeopardize it’s good name and reputation, and that’s apart from incurring tremendous expense.

  • Roger, there have been 8 million Toyotas which have accelerated out of control? I don’t think so. You miss my point.

    There are 8 million POTENTIAL problem cars, but only a handful have actually gone awry. The vast majority may never manifest this problem. The intensity of the uproar is — as always — out of proportion to the real danger.


  • “The truth is that we’re talking about millions of cars which potentially have this problem and just a handful in which it has actually manifested.”

    Eight million is not handful by any stretch.

    “. . .that’s part of the price we pay for all of the benefits which these things bring us.”

    And this, too, is a rather odd way of justifying the merits of mass production at the expense of safety.

    The fact that it’s a Japanese automaker which is responsible for this oversight is more significant than anything else. It makes one wonder the kind of peril we’re being exposed to day in and day out when shopping at Wal-Mart.

  • It seems to be, Dave, that there’s more to it than gas pedals or carpet locks in tandem with pedals. We have claims of brake failure in Prius. There are allegations of chronic electronic issues. How long will it be before Mr. Toyota blames American labor for compromising Toyota’s record of quality and safety? Overall, the Toyota mess is indicative of a larger problem and that is basic consumer product safety. My major concern is how this will spin in the media. Bart Stupak is front and center in the MSM on this one. Let’s face it, Stupak has been a target as of late on other issues and now he’s trying to come in like a white knight to save the consumer. I smell a rat, a bail out or both. I just can’t figure to whom it shall be given — the finance companies? Toyota? The consumer?

  • Libertarians – at least those who believe in the Constitution – aren’t going to say this is the result of overregulation.

    Regulatory oversight especially in the area of consumer safety is one of the legitimate roles of government. If I’d attach blame I’d say that the problem is too much government meddling in areas where they don’t belong, while ignoring areas where they do have a legitimate job to do.

    But in the case of the Toyota accelerator pedals, would government oversight have done the job? These cars were drien and tested by Consumer Reports and Road and Track and a dozen other reputable and expert groups and these problems were not found. Those private groups can do a better and more motivated job than any government inspector, and after years of these problems existing they never found them.

    The truth is that we’re talking about millions of cars which potentially have this problem and just a handful in which it has actually manifested. The reason why none of the experts spotted it before is that it only happens very rarely. Admittedly, one Camry over a cliff is too many, but at some point we have to expect that there’s a level of acceptable risk and of tolerable defectiveness which comes with any mechanical device.

    This is something which Americans seem pathologically incapable of understanding. Yes, vaccines have horrible side effects in 1 in a million cases. Yes, every once in a very long while your Camry goes off a cliff or smashes into a wall. Yes, the occasional toaster oven burns down a house. But grow up, people, that’s part of the price we pay for all of the benefits which these things bring us.