Some Americans in their later years may decide to buy a new recreational automobile. Maybe a Corvette, maybe a new Prius. They may even add a third garage to a two-garage house to accommodate their mid-life splurge. If the current Senate Trillion Dollar Debt Plan is enacted, the U.S. Government will need to splurge on a garage big enough to fit 30,000 extra new cars. It sounds like Uncle Sam is having a mid-life crisis.
Earlier today, President Obama visited the U.S. Department of Energy, where he made the case for the massive spending in his ‘stimulus’ bill. And just as we have been telling you, the case he made was pure policy and zero stimulus. He said:
“You know the truth. It will not only save the government significant money over time, it will not only create manufacturing jobs for folks who are making these cars, it will set a standard for private industry to match.”
Unfortunately, a stimulus bill is not the appropriate place to be setting vehicle standards, even if it did help the automakers, which it will not. As U.S. automakers already play catch-up to reach the aggressive vehicle fuel standards levied in the past two years by Congress, they are now faced with a larger struggle of meeting those standards absent any time to convert their manufacturing or design practices. If you don’t believe us, believe the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers who represent the Big Three and eight other automakers, who indicated they are unlikely to support such a measure.
Yesterday, the Senate voted down a substitute amendment to the ‘stimulus’ bill, introduced by Senator DeMint (R-SC), which would’ve created Smart Stimulus for automakers. If the tax cuts offered in that plan were enacted, or a future compromise contained them, the rapid growth in the economy would lead to total sales of automobiles rising $24.5 Billion between 2009 and 2011.
But this isn’t about Stimulus, it’s about a liberal policy agenda, and President Obama once again made that clear at the Department of Energy today when he admonished the Senate for having the temerity to take one week to read the 1,000+ page bill and debate its merits. He received a rousing ovation at the Department by the way, most likely due to him doubling the size of the federal agency in his ‘stimulus’ plan. The U.S. Government should stick to replacing federal cars when their safe time on the road has expired, just as fiscally responsible Americans do for their families every day.