Friday, May 8, 2009

The Democrats' Greenwash and the Automobile Welfare State

Does the United States already have enough damn corporate welfare? And do we have enough cars out there already?

The Cash-For-Clunkers bill, enthusiastically endorsed by Obama and an army of Democratic leaders, is expected to pass easily this week, and it is supposed to stimulate purchases of new automobiles. It will offer auto buyers a voucher (not a tax credit) of $3,500 to $ 4,500 to purchase new, more fuel-efficient autos.

We need to ask some questions about this.

Like, is it really "green" to give auto buyers a tax-funded voucher of $3,500 to $4,500 to replace a car that cost 27 barrels of oil to build and is possibly less than 5 years old, and buy a new "green" car?

Is the money to fund this program not taken from public transit and from people who can't afford a car on any terms?

Can people who've already maxed out their cards, are losing their jobs, and are falling into delinquency on all their obligations really ante up for new cars even with a handout from Uncle Sam?

Could we just possibly have an economy founded on industries other than housing and automobiles?

And is it wise, in an era of declining liquid fuels, to continue to subsidize auto ownership and driving, while starving public transit?

This country has been an Automobile Welfare State for the past 80 years as it is. The taxpayers at large, whether they drive or not, have been paying for this country's 5.7 million miles of paved highways and for the resource wars we are currently fighting, inasmuch as our only reason to be involved in the Middle East at all is because we need their oil to run our 200 million cars and trucks.

Obama is repeating Bush's mistakes, only in slightly different form. Bushco granted tax credits for buying fuel-guzzling SUVs, and his fiscal policies drove the creation of more suburban sprawl and created the credit bubble that resulted in our present economic debacle.

Obama has merely dressed the Republicans' failed fiscal and economic policies in green Democratic clothes. He has generated trillions of dollars in new Treasury debt to support the trillions in bad debt created in the past 6 years, in an effort to continue an economy based on printing fake money to keep the house and car sales machine going.

Obama has barely been in office three months, but is rapidly squandering his considerable political capital by continuing the very policies that set us up for this financial debacle to begin with. Worse, he is squandering the last opportunity this country has to prepare for the terminal decline of oil supplies and coming price shocks. If his policies don't start to work really quickly, he will find himself unable to accomplish any of the worthy goals he set for his administration and will be a one-term president.

Somebody needs to tell our current team that their chosen strategy, which is emptying out the treasury and printing unlimited quantities of fake money to support everything and everybody, has been tried before. They should read the history of the Perons in Argentina and see how well it worked for them.

Somebody really needs to get it across to Team Obama that paying people to drive cars and borrow money they can't afford isn't exactly the path to less dependence on oil or a stable economy.


Anonymous said...

This is nothing more than a further subsidy to the auto industry, mascaraing as 'green' policy. APPALLING!

M. Simon said...

What about poor people who need that $1,000 clunker to get to work?

The lowest value clunkers will be the first vacuumed from the market hurting the poorest of the poor.

Buy a clunker for $1,000 get a $3,500 check from the government.

The North Coast said...

I don't think it will work that way, really., but it will definitely hurt the poorest people. It will deflect funding from public transit, and it will not get the "clunkers" off the road, but will fill the used car lots with more oversized SUVs that people otherwise would have a hard time unloading.

The poor will be stuck with THEIR clunkers while their taxes help people vastly more affluent swap their nearly-new vehicles for a new car to get the voucher. You have to swap your old vehicle for a "green" car, like a hybrid, to get the voucher, and many people defend this bill because they say it will help get gas-hogs off the road.