Detroit Plays Pork Barrel Politics. Again. Still.

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
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.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Adonis Adonis on Apr 30, 2008
    Iranian Islamofascist hegemony You've been listening to a little too much Rush Limbaugh. Honestly, I don't know what to say. Every American industry has always been supported with protectionism and money infusions, from auto to health care to pharmaceuticals. But, so are the industries of every other industrialized nation in the world, regardless of all the talk about 'free markets'. They shouldn't be, but they are. If the detroit three never have to improve because they get bailed out at every turn, they will never improve.
  • Detroit-Iron Detroit-Iron on Apr 30, 2008

    Shouldn't he have come up with a stupid acronym for "big two point five"?

  • Ttacgreg Ttacgreg on Apr 30, 2008

    50merc "there are some things only Uncle Sam can do–such as preventing Iranian Islamofascist hegemony over the Mideast." Groan . . Seriously, sir, I am afraid you have bought into all the lies that the petro-oligarchy/neo cons/Israeli/pentagon/and (sadly,) Republicans want you to believe. In fact, our invasion and occupation of Iraq has destroyed it as a cogent entity that stood in counterbalance to Iran. Iraq is broken onto pieces now. Our military invasions and occupations in the Middle East have in fact strengthened Iran's hand. With all due respect, read a little history, sir. Go back 50 or 100 or a 1000 years rather than just 5. I guarantee your views will change. I'd like to add that CAFE is not best idea. I do remember when the CAFE noose was tightening its grip in the 80's. To my mind, that was something of a golden era in automotive evolution. Performance, efficiency, and emissions and to some extent, build quality quality were all improving by leaps and bounds, particularly in contrast to the dark ages the 70's cars were. CAFE's light truck exception was its fatal Achilles' heel exploited in the pickup truck/suv craze. The exemptions in the safety rules for light trucks & suvs was another convenient loophole too, but I digress. Petroleum taxes, increasing in a predictable ever increasing schedule over the years, plowed directly back into highways and alternative renewable energy sources would be my substitute for CAFE, and to pave the way to the eventual and inevitable transition away from petroleum fuels. The sooner we start the better. Cramming for the finals is a bitch.

  • Tommy Jefferson Tommy Jefferson on Apr 30, 2008

    Here's a novel idea. Let taxpayers keep these billions of dollars and buy whatever the hell cars they want. Oh wait. They might buy cars we don't like. Can't allow that. We must FORCE them to do something they might not do otherwise.