David Harsanyi
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Buy American! A conventional, well-intentioned, patriotically affirming sentiment. We've heard it all our lives. But unless you crave less competition, fewer choices and higher prices, it's also a completely irrational one.

Naturally, then, as we kick off "Recovery Summer! Part Deux," the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee says that buying homemade cars is a matter of national importance. "If it were up to the candidates for president on the Republican side, we would be driving foreign cars," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz explained while defending the protectionist auto/union bailout. "They would have let the auto industry in America go down the tubes." (And by "we," Wasserman Schultz, proud American, is talking about herself and her sweet Japanese-made Infiniti FX35.)

As if that weren't enough, those who oppose this brand of corporate welfare, according to Wasserman Schultz, also reject the very idea of "American exceptionalism." Now, one might argue that those who claim we must bankroll a few politically favored companies because an entire manufacturing sector could collapse are the ones skeptical of American ingenuity, perseverance and exceptionalism.

But God, evidently, loves the Volt and the Volt only. And Americans -- people who can do almost anything, including, but not limited to, electing politicians who keep rotten companies buoyant for political gain -- have a patriotic duty to buy poorly conceived automobiles. You have an obligation to insulate Washington's favorite companies from responsibility. For God and for country, taxpayers must purchase cars from corporations that have not come close -- despite the contention of the administration -- to paying back what they already owe you.

But hey, the car was assembled in Michigan. If that's not a sign of American exceptionalism, I don't know what is.

Even if Wasserman Schultz's "Buy American" rhetoric were genuine, it would be severely misguided. Every time we overpay for an American-made product (whatever it is), don't we also spend less on an array of other services and products that create jobs at home? Real jobs. Self-sustaining jobs. If we all mechanically bought American, wouldn't we allow manufacturers to avoid competition and rely on their locations rather than the excellence of their products? Sounds like the opposite of exceptionalism.

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