The Center for Automotive Research (CAR) contends that as fuel efficiency rises to very high levels, the benefit to the customer shrinks. At $5 per gallon, for example, a 15,000-mile-a-year driver can save $3,750 on gasoline annually by jumping from 10mpg to 20mpg. But by going from 40mpg to 50mpg, the savings drop to only $375 annually, the curve shows. As consumers reach those limits, CAR says they are likely to keep their current vehicles longer, a phenomenon it refers to as the "Cuban-ization" of the American auto market. (Source: Center for Automotive Research)
The initial high wages paid, reputedly not Fords idea, was also balanced to some degree by Ford policing the personal lives of his employees. Both eventually abandoned.
The improvements in standard of living in the 1800's is generally credited to the industrial revolution. The "progressive" movement tended to be a response to perceived predatory practices of industrialists. Rockefeller's "crimes" were controlling freight rates, and predatory pricing (among others) to drive his competitors out of business. Had the playing field been level, it's possible other companies would have risen to preeminence and, the price of kerosene could have gone lower. We'll never know.
By definition a monopoly is exclusive control of a commodity or service. A monopoly can be granted by a government or king, but in an unregulated "free" economy it is the natural result of competition. Eventually someone will end up holding all the marbles. At which point they can prevent others from entering the business to compete, charge whatever they want, control by regulating supply, and depending on the commodity controlled, influence legislation outside of a democratic format.
UL is accredited by OSHA, my conversations with Europeans (Spanish, German, French, UK) indicate that our postal system (cheaper, more reliable) is the envy of the world, SAE includes government agencies (US and Foreign) in their forum.
Your rights in the US, are granted by the US constitution. You have a right to due process, a certain freedom to travel would likely be considered a right, but method, traveling, by driving a car, is not. Laws don't grant you rights, they define limits of behavior within the constitutional framework. (Jeeze, your making me despair of your private education.) If you believe you have a right to drive, don't renew your license, get pulled over and ticketed for driving without a license and take it to the supreme court. They will let you know if you have the right. Even a blind person has the right to own a gun, they don't have a right to operate a motor vehicle (but they can ride the bus or be a passenger in a motor vehicle). Before the laws were sorted out there was a fair amount of pandemonium with a lack of standardization, safety equipment, and rudimentary skills associated with owning and operating automobiles. Municipalities, states and the federal government eventually imposed standards for training, navigation, condition, and safety equipment to keep people from killing and maiming themselves or each other on the road. Believe it or not, there is a legitimate societal interest in keeping you alive and healthy. Keeping you an alive wage earner/tax payer, keeping your kids out of orphanages, and you (or other drivers) out of rest homes or cemeteries is generally good for society. It seems goofy to whine about safety equipment, or laws mandated to keep you and your fellow drivers alive and healthy. The cost of advertizing and "destination charges" etc. probably adds more to the cost of your car than the safety equipment, and does less for your general wellfare.
I don't necessarily disagree with your point in government being authorized to regulate transportation.
But I totally disagree with your mistaken idea that the Constitution is the source of rights. The 9th and 10th amendments specifically say it is not, and that rights are inherent and pre-existing of the Constitution. Laws then are merely implementations of protections and restrictions on those inherent rights, and can not grant or deny rights at all. The justification for restriction of rights is entirely from the need to protect the rights of other individuals from conflicts. Government by itself has no authority at all, and is not a source of authority.
I'm speaking from an engineering/pragmatic standpoint. The constitution does, indeed, attempt to set forth the responsibilities and limits on the government and the people. As I understand it (obviously I wasn't there), there was some debate about including the ammendments. Some drafters felt it would limit our rights (anything not covered would become government regulatable), and some felt it would preserve them by assuring things wouldn't be assumed to be regulatable beyond the defined limits (ergo the IX & X ammendments). For those of you wondering, the certain inalienable rights endowed by our creator, life, liberty... etc. is from the Declaration of Independence, not the constitution.
From a pragmatic standpoint, if a right you want to claim is not specifically or obliquely identified in the constitution, the Supreme Court has been generally unreceptive to recognizing it. The supreme court has gotten pretty good at shoe horning in whatever complaint is brought before them to fit into a pidgeon hole of existing verbiage. You can argue about how generous they have been with oblique references.
We don't really disagree much it would seem, but remember that Roe vs Wade is based on the right of privacy, one of those unenumerated individual rights. Another word the SCOTUS uses for oblique is penumbra.
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