No More Throw Away Cars


“I’d rather be President Hu than President Obama,” Jim Owens, chief executive of Caterpillar, told a Council on Foreign Relations gathering in Washington, D.C., today, referring to China’s Hu Jintao.

Hu’s task is to tell the thrifty Chinese people: “Enjoy a little more.” The Chinese, he said, need to save less and spend more so their country imports more. In contrast, Obama “is going to have to encourage Americans to save more” — once the current recession is over, of course.

“We are going to have to have a little less conspicuous consumption,” said Owens, who happens to have a Ph.D. in economics. “I’m not sure we can afford to be buying 17 or 18 million cars a year and then throwing them away every three or four years.”