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Hinkle: An electrifying case of folly

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  • DMV reverses Tesla ruling

    Tesla workers cheer on the first Tesla Model S cars sold during a June 22, 2012 rally at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif. The Tesla Motors Inc. Model S electric car has tied an older Lexus for the highest score ever recorded in Consumer Reports magazine's automotive testing.

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Posted: Sunday, September 29, 2013 12:00 am

Anyone searching for a case study to explain what is wrong with capitalism in America today can stop looking. We have the perfect specimen: Tesla Motors. Federal and state programs have conferred huge advantages to help the electric-vehicle company sell its cars — which state laws then make almost impossible to sell.

Left to its own devices, Tesla one day might have epitomized everything good about market economics. In an industry whose fundamentals have changed little since the introduction of the Model T, the California-based company, led by the visionary Elon Musk, made a long-term bet that it could prevail through disruptive innovation and superior products (Motor Trend named its Model S the 2013 Car of the Year, and Consumer Reports raved about it). Instead, Tesla now epitomizes the folly of government intervention.

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