Clint Eastwood Super Bowl Ad

February 25, 2012 by staff 

Clint Eastwood Super Bowl Ad, During this year’s Super Bowl, Chrysler ran a commercial featuring film actor Clint Eastwood. Referencing the gradual recovery of the American automotive industry, Eastwood proclaims that though the country is struggling through difficult economic times, it will rise again. He concludes by forcefully asserting, “This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again, and when we do the world is going to hear the roar of our engines.” To me, the ad is an inspirational call for the American people to work hard to overcome the recession. One would think that a desire for the United States to prosper would be uncontroversial. Sadly, this is not the case, as some have cynically exploited the ad’s optimistic message for political purposes.

Karl Rove, a former advisor to President George W. Bush, insinuated that by praising Detroit’s resilience and recovery, Eastwood was endorsing the federal government’s bailout of Chrysler. On Fox News, he bizarrely suggested that the administration of President Barack Obama was behind the ad, stating, “The President of the United States and his political minions are, in essence, using tax dollars to buy corporate advertising and the best-wishes of the management, which is benefitted by getting a bunch of our money that they’ll never pay back.” With all due respect, I would like to know what evidence Rove has for his allegation.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I strongly opposed the bailouts in 2008 and 2009, and I would do so again. I believe that bailouts are horrifically immoral. They undermine our market system by giving businesspeople the sense that if they make bad judgments, they can simply count on the Federal Reserve to bail them out and thereby pass their losses onto the rest of society.

Furthermore, government bailouts are based on an economic fallacy. As the Austrian School of Economics teaches us, when a central bank sets interest rates below their free market levels, businesspeople are led to believe that consumers want to save more money than they actually do. Consequently, businesses invest more money on capital goods, such as manufacturing equipment and raw materials, and less money on consumer goods (finished products). When consumers do not, in fact, increase their savings, businesses find that they have invested too much money on capital goods and not enough money on consumer goods. A depression is the painful but necessary phase in which these malinvestments are liquidated, allowing the economy to return to a sound footing. When a central bank attempts to avert a depression via additional inflationary policies such as bailouts, it prevents the liquidation of the malinvestments and, in the words of the great economist Murray Rothbard, “prolong[s] the agony and convert[s] a sharp and quick depression phase into a lingering and chronic disease.”

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