Let's start here:
Chevy Volt - Code Blue
The MSRP for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt in the U.S. starts at $40,280. Starts. That's the base model. For a car that goes (according to the EPA) 35 miles in all-electric mode. The total range is 379 miles (gas and electric).
Now, I don't know about you, but thirty five miles will not get me to work and back on any given day. Hell, some days, three hundred and seventy nine miles won't cut it either. So, who buys a car that is not reliable enough to get you to work and back on a single charge and is too small to be comfortable on a long trip?
It is ill suited, therefore to be one's primary or sole means of transportation, so, who is it that can afford a $40,000 subcompact to drive, aside from commutes or vacations? The rich. Anyone could buy a Chevy Cruze, which is a gas version of the Volt (only $23,000 cheaper), with more head room, legroom and a longer range. Who buys an expensive novelty car that's not very practical, just to prove a point, or make one feel better about themselves and the "environment"? This car has Ed Begley, Jr. written all over it!
So, if the rich, or at least, moderately well off, want to buy a Volt, let them! But, about those "loopholes"...
Quantifying just how much taxpayer money will have been wasted on the hastily developed Volt is no easy feat. Start with the $50 billion bailout (without which none of this would have been necessary), add $240 million in Energy Department grants doled out to G.M. last summer, $150 million in federal money to the Volt’s Korean battery supplier, up to $1.5 billion in tax breaks for purchasers and other consumer incentives, and some significant portion of the $14 billion loan G.M. got in 2008 for “retooling” its plants, and you’ve got some idea of how much taxpayer cash is built into every Volt.
But, wait! (As they say) There's more! Let's give every rich person who buys a Chevy Volt a $7,500 tax credit (read: "loophole"), so all the poor people who can't even afford a single new car can help subsidize the rich to buy an extra one!
Now, am I really incensed that the rich are taking advantage of this "loophole", not available to poorer folks? Not really. Even with a $7,500 tax break, the Volt is still overpriced and under featured. The sales numbers of the Volt, even after a flood of government money are anemic and somewhat pathetic.
So, what's the point? It's this: One man's loophole is simply another man's deduction. The demagoguery of using the term "loophole" to generate class envy, by implying an unfair advantage (in areas where you really just want to raise taxes) while ignoring similar tax breaks in areas you want to encourage, is hypocritical to say the least.
When this administration tells you they want to "close the loopholes" so that the rich "pay their fair share", what they are talking about is raising taxes, pure and simple. It has been noted that even taxing "the rich" at 100% and confiscating everything they have, would not solve the problems created by a spendthrift Congress, so "taxing the rich" is just a bit of class envy political theater, used to distract the voters away from the real problem by demonstrating that they are at least "doing something". (And sticking it to those rich guys, doggone it!)
And although Barack Obama has acknowledged that it is not a good idea to raise taxes during a recession, still, he has tried to 1) end the Bush across the board tax cuts last December, 2) eliminate "loopholes" like depreciation on private jets, and 3) calls for a quote unquote "balanced" approach that includes even more tax increases.
And speaking of "balance", if raising taxes in a recession is a bad thing, how is it "balanced" to do a bad thing with a good thing? This whole nonsense about "balancing" spending cuts with tax increases (What about five to one? Ten to one? Etc.) can be illustrated thusly: You've been buying clean ground beef and one day your butcher decides he's going to "balance" that by selling a little beef with e.coli mixed in.
Would this "balanced" approach be more palatable if the mixture is ten to one beef instead of five to one? Or would it still bad for you?
"Balance" is probably a word that "focus grouped" well, and Obama would much rather tell you he's taking a "balanced approach" than to tell you he's actually in favor of raising taxes during a recession. But don't buy it... and change your butcher!