Today's WSJ carries a most timely and witty op-ed by Ion Mihai Pacepa, who before seeking political asylum in the United States in the late 1980s held various posts in Ceausescu's Romanian Socialist dictatorship, including head of Romania's fabled auto manufacturing industry.
We link this fine article especially for our younger readers, who may not realize that the stories of socialism's past are very real and not at all exaggerated. Yes, there was a time when socialist governments spent the public purse to establish the most shamefully inefficient auto companies one can imagine.
We note especially Pacepa's perceptive citation of Jaguar as the most apt parallel to the establishment of Government Motors. What we're in store for is not the hilarious failure of Dacia or Trabent but the slow, agonizing bleed of Jaguar and other British makes of the postwar nanny state.
Another failed socialist auto was the USSR's Lada, apparently still manufactured in petro-fascist Russia. We recall the joke making the rounds in the UK, where dedicated reds bought and attempted to drive the hapless vehicles, during the last years of the Soviet Empire:
Q: How do you double the value of your Lada?
A: Fill the tank with petrol.