Electric Vehicle Racket

Nov 01 2019
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While working in California in September 2010, I noticed a large new factory across the freeway.  It had a name which was later to become famous – Solyndra.  In Silicon Valley, they were a hot item.  The company was founded to produce solar panels.  But their timing was a perfect storm of government misguided policies.

With Obama in the White House, and a Democrat Congress, the taxpayer money was really flowing.  It was a gusher.  The Democrats were eager to prove how much they cared for the environment, all with other people’s money, of course.  That’s the liberal way.  Sounds like the Green New Deal, doesn’t it? 

Well, one of the anointed industries was solar panels.  Both the state of California and the federal government were hell bent to establish solar panel manufacturing in the United States.  California gave Solyndra a $25 million tax break, and the feds chipped in with a whopping $535 million loan guarantee.  In fact, Obama himself showed up for the grand opening.  But free market economics and technology advances were powerful counterforces, and Solyndra collapsed in just a year.  What a fiasco!

A friend of mine who worked at Solyndra complained that he didn’t have any time to focus on the company’s operations, because he spent all day on the phone to Washington.  Well, it didn’t last long.  Incredibly, in just 12 months, Solyndra was backrupt and we taxpayers picked up the tab.  A perfect example of a clueless federal government sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong.  The feds tried to pick winners and losers, and we the taxpayers were ultimately the losers.  Remember this when you hear all these wild Democrat promises of huge new government programs.

Here is another one, still in progress.

The government gives a tax credit for electric vehicle (EV) purchases.  Yes, your tax money gives a $7,500 tax credit for buying an EV.  Now it gets interesting.

The average household income of EV purchasers is $200,000!  Yes, this silly tax credit goes primarily to rich people!  And predominantly Californians, as more EVs are sold to Californians than all other states combined.  This makes no sense.  And we taxpayers are footing the bill!

Thankfully, the Republicans managed to negotiate a sunset clause into the legislation, so the tax credit expires at the end of this year.  But as you might imagine, the car companies, led by Tesla, are lobbying hard to extend the law.  Of course, they want this government handout to continue.  But we will be watching carefully to see who in Congress is working hard for our interests, the taxpayers.

And it gets worse.  Now the Treasury department’s inspector general (IG) reports that huge numbers of the tax credit payments didn’t actually qualify.  Yes, the feds handed out $74 million to undeserving EV owners.  Between confusion over how the credits work and outright fraud, the taxpayers are being fleeced, mostly to benefit rich people.

Many of the credits are going to owners of vehicle models that don’t meet requirements under the law, to secondary owners (only the original owner can claim the credit), and to drivers who lease the vehicle.  The IG says the IRS “does not have effective processes to identify and prevent erroneous claims”, meaning filers are applying for these credits on an honor system!  Incredibly, the IRS is not using Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) to find fraud and abuse.  Yes, indeed, more wanton waste of taxpayer dollars.  Sadly, it happens all the time.

As Congress weighs the fate of the EV tax credit, we get news of last fiscal year’s taxes and spending.  In fiscal year 2019, the federal government collected the most tax money in American history.  They also spent $1 trillion more than they collected in taxes.  Incredibly, liberal politicians want us to pay even more in taxes.

We, the people, pay more than enough in taxes already.  And we don’t want a state income tax in Texas either.  We are fed up with a massive, messy, inefficient federal government that can’t seem to defend the borders, or get out of its own way, or mind its own business.

Let’s tell Congress to put the EV tax credit racket on the trash pile, right on top of Solyndra, the Cash for Clunkers racket and all the other ridiculous wasteful government spending programs.  Tell them we are fed up with this nonsense, and we don’t need to pay more taxes!

Scott S. Kramer is Chairman of the Republican Party of Kendall County.