I like the guys over at Outside the Beltway. I’ve known James Joyner for over 20 years. They often get quoted here at BJ because they are generally reasonable conservative/libertarian. But they also demonstrate what is really a problem over on their side of the aisle, namely the fact that even reasonable right-wingers seem to have no functional BS detector.
Here is Doug Mataconis ranting about the Volt (General Motors Loses Nearly $50,000 Every Time It Sells A Chevy Volt):
If you’re a businessman and you’re losing $50,000 on every sale of a certain item you manufacture, shouldn’t that tell you that you’re doing something wrong? Shouldn’t it, perhaps, tell you that the idea of building the rebirth of your company on such a product is a mistake? We were told after the bailout that we’d see something new from Detroit. With the Volt, all we’re seeing is more of the same bad business decisions that got Detroit in trouble in the first place.
But, of course, Chevy isn’t losing $50k per Volt. It is making money on each sale, but that money has not yet been sufficient to recoup development costs. So if you amortize the total costs against the revenue so far you get a loss of $50K per car, even though each new Volt produced and sold is marginally profitable. If you’re a businessman in that situation you want to continue to make ’em and sell ’em to amortize those costs. Pretty basic sunk cost story, right? And pretty obvious too. I mean, isn’t it unlikely that production costs would be upwards of $85k per vehicle necessary to generate $50k losses per vehicle.
Anyway, I don’t read all OTB posts, but I clicked on this one because the headline was obviously false. And of course, several of us pointed that out to Doug in the comments thread. And yet, his only contributions to that thread doubled down on the claim, and he’s posted no correction/retraction.
But this is a pretty common thing I find with conservatives/libertarians. I am not sure it is deliberate, but rather a bizarre credulousness combined with an unwillingness to admit errors of fact. I mean, this is the McMegan problem too. I wish I could understand it, but I admit, I just don’t. It is almost like they don’t even want to get it right.