I can't decide how I feel about this. Fifteen years ago I would have been all on Tesla's side, and if I had had a blog I would have written a rant about selfish car dealers driving up prices for everyone so they can be sure to take their cut. Plus I just hate car dealers.
But now that ever-growing inequality dominates my thinking about economics, I have to wonder. Car dealers say they create lots of middle-class jobs. Are they right? Is this the sort of inefficiency that ends up redistributing money from investors to regular people, or at least capturing some of what people pay for cars and turning it directly into jobs? The lesson of the past 25 years seems to be that ever greater corporate efficiency leads to lower prices by squeezing out lots of jobs; the most efficient possible arrangement seems to be the one that pays out the least in salaries and returns the most to billionaire investors. In the long run, do those lower prices come out of the future of the middle class?
Or does most of the money actually flow to a few thousand dealership owners who are themselves in the 1 percent? Are laws protecting dealers actually just helping one class of millionaires stiff another?
I really don't know. But I am sure that if we want to preserve the middle class and limit inequality, we have to get used to balancing other things against greater efficiency and lower prices.