Detroit Plays Pork Barrel Politics. Again. Still.
While GM say it turns to face the strange ch-ch-changes, it seems old pork barrel habits die hard (with a vengeance). The Detroit News reports that US Rep Joel Knollenberg (R-MI) has proposed $1.2b in federal spending and $3.2b in tax rebates to help American automakers achieve recently-increased CAFE standards. The bill sports a nausea-inducing acronym: "Bridging Industry and Government Through Hi-Tech Research on Energy Efficiency Act." Yup, that's the BIG THREE Act. The easiest of the bill's provisions to stomach: $750m over five years for "advanced battery research and development" The hardest? The $50m to pay for 200 hydrogen fueling stations, and the $150m to buy fool-cell vehicles for government use. The big-ticket spending comes in the form of a 20 percent refundable tax credit for research and development costs connected to meeting fuel efficiency standards. Figure that at $3.2b. The Detroit automakers are lining-up to fawn over Rep Knollenbergs
fiscal irresponsibility bold leadership. Which was probably the point of the exercise anyway. Knollenberg is locked in a tight race for re-election (with suicide Doc Jack Kevorkian amongst others). To differentiate himself from his opponents, he's been emphasizing his support for the auto industry. Sounds like several billion well spent.
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