Democrats are again planning to pay rich people to buy expensive cars

As part of their appalling, budget-busting $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill, Democrats are insisting upon a vast transfer of wealth from less affluent taxpayers to the very rich. The form that this transfer is taking is a plan to increase the already outrageous $7,500 taxpayer-funded credit for electric car purchases to a $12,500 credit.

Just The News has the story:

House Republicans are arguing against a Democratic proposal to increase the $7,500 taxpayer-funded credit for electric car purchases to as much as $12,500, arguing that it would disproportionately help wealthy Americans who can afford to buy pricey electric vehicles.

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee have proposed increasing the credit as part of their party’s filibuster-proof $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill, which includes new social programs and billions for electric vehicle infrastructure.

Electric cars “can cost anywhere from 10 percent to over 40 percent more than a similar gasoline-only model,” a Consumer Reports analysis found last year (although the study argued that estimated savings on things like fuel and repairs offset the higher purchase prices over time).

As an extra bonus, the credit is also a payoff to unions, since the credit would apply only to union-made vehicles assembled in the U.S.:

Tesla purchases would not be eligible for the new credit since the company’s workforce is not unionized. Automakers such as Toyota and Honda are speaking out against the Democrats’ proposal, given that their workforce is not unionized either.

Putting aside the fact that electric cars aren’t as green as promised, given their filthy batteries created using materials associated with brutal child labor* and the fact that they often just transfer pollution from the gas tank to the fossil-fuel-burning electric plant, the incentives are nothing more than money for rich people. That’s not just me saying that. That’s also what a National Bureau of Economic Research paper said in 2015 (and I doubt much has changed since then, especially in these inflationary times):

Since 2006, U.S. households have received more than $18 billion in federal income tax credits for weatherizing their homes, installing solar panels, buying hybrid and electric vehicles, and other "clean energy" investments. We use tax return data to examine the socioeconomic characteristics of program recipients. We find that these tax expenditures have gone predominantly to higher-income Americans. The bottom three income quintiles have received about 10% of all credits, while the top quintile has received about 60%. The most extreme is the program aimed at electric vehicles, where we find that the top income quintile has received about 90% of all credits. By comparing to previous work on the distributional consequences of pricing greenhouse gas emissions, we conclude that tax credits are likely to be much less attractive on distributional grounds than market mechanisms to reduce GHGs. (Emphasis mine.)

It's true, of course, that roughly half of the American population isn’t paying any federal income taxes and that the rich are paying a vastly disproportionate share of taxes. One could say that those rich people who buy electric cars because of the credit are just getting a form of tax refund. That point, however, ignores that there are lots of people who aren’t rich who nevertheless turn a healthy chunk of their income over to the bloated federal government every year. It’s unconscionable that these people subsidize affluent Americans buying their virtue-signaling electric vehicles.

The problem for leftists is that electric cars, despite being zippy, have lots of problems that make them incapable of competing in the marketplace. If you’re on a road trip and you run low on electricity, you can’t bop into a gas station, fill up, and be on the road five minutes later. Instead, plan for an hour sitting there, waiting for the car to charge—and that’s assuming there’s no line. The cars can also lose up to 40% of their range in cold weather, something that’s common in large parts of the U.S.

Moreover, even if you’re not paying for gasoline, you’re still paying for electricity, something that’s shot up thanks to Biden’s policies. In the San Francisco Bay Area, one of America’s most aggressively virtue-signaling communities, electricity jumped by 9.3% in one month. Apartment dwellers may also find it difficult to charge their car at night because there’s no convenient electric outlet.

These are all practical problems, though, and the Democrats don’t have time for that. They’re out to save the world from a nonexistent crisis and, if they have to rob working-class people to get the rich to buy impractical cars—by God! They’re going to do it.


* Of course, the computers and phones without which we can’t function also depend on that same child slave labor. The whole modern battery issue is a situation from which too many people benefit.

Image: A Tesla broken down on a German roadside (and electric cars also need special roadside assistance). Copyright by Ralf Roletschek / Used with permission.

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