The liberal magazine Slate has a thought provoking article titled “Unaffordable at Any Speed“. The thrust of the arguments in the article are two fold, the first argument is that President Obama’s electric car tax credit is going to primarily go to the affluent, the second is that the best way to reduce gas consumption is to tax it. The article goes on to outline the electric car purchaser demographic;
“When Deloitte Consulting interviewed industry experts and 2,000 potential buyers, it found that from now until 2020, only “young, very high income individuals”-those from households making more than $200,000 a year-would even be interested in plug-in hybrids or all-electric cars.”
This leaves Democrats in the deliciously ironic position of providing a $7500 tax break primarily to people that make more than $200,000 a year. All the screaming about the Bush tax cuts only benefiting the rich is only so much political theater. When it comes time for the Democrats to govern they pass a tax cut that only benefits the rich and self-righteous. As slate puts it;
“Where does the federal government get off spending the average person’s tax dollars to help better-off-than-average Americans buy expensive new cars?”
The author goes on to point out the obvious, the most effective way to reduce the use of something is to tax it (Somehow liberals always miss this point as they continue to tax success). The problem with taxing energy is that it hits the poor and and especially the rural poor very hard. How can Democrats say that they are sticking up for the little guy when policies like cap and trade and killing school choice programs hurt the little guys?
When MIT looked at the issue they suggested slowly raising gas taxes and providing tax relief to low income households. This type of tax is still more unfair to the poor, but the rural poor have a double whammy. While the urban poor can often avail themselves of public transportation, or the distances to the grocery store is short. The rural poor have no such services available. Not only do the rural poor have to drive, they have to drive further distances for basic services. Does anyone really think that a rural poor family living pay check to pay check is going to notice that once a year tax incentive? Then again, our President has already expressed his disdain for folks that “cling to guns or religion”.