Thursday, November 30, 2006

Subsidies For Hybrid Cars: Unfair At Any Price?

I've been hearing about the folks at Toyota who have had a bang up success with their environmentally friendly and high priced Prius automobile.

Maybe what you didn't know is that you, me, and every other taxpayer in this country is subsidizing the folks who can afford this, to the tune of $3,600 per least until this month, when Toyota reached the 60,000 unit cap and the credit fell to a mere $1,510. They're complaining bitterly in Washington, so we hear.

I know, I know, you're thinking "What in the heck does this have to do with agriculture, anyway?" Well, because it costs you and me money and it's transferring that money to people who don't need it as much as some folks I know, that's what it has to do with the general subject.

I mean, don't get me wrong. I'm all for green products, and saving on the oil bill and the balance of payments is a good thing for the country. But when K**** W*****, a friend of ours who, between herself and her husband is knocking down around a hundred grand a year, and who went from a Porsche to a Dodge Stealth to a Prius gets a $3,600 kickback that comes out of the wallets of less wealthy folks, I've got a problem.

While I'm struggling to keep current with student loans I'll never pay off in my life, and folks I've met in my practice are scuffling at construction jobs trying to keep some old pile of junk car going so they can feed and clothe the kids and stay out of jail, let alone drop $20,000 on a Prius because they want to make a fashion statement, well, our pockets are being picked to underwrite this.

Did I get a break for rebuilding the engine in my 1987 pickup truck to keep it out of the landfill for a few more years? Hell, no. Do I get a check for riding a bicycle? Not bloody likely. Do the folks on the poor side of town that I have to labor to keep out of jail get anything from this beyond less money in their tax return? Not a chance.

Am I angry? Yes. I'm angry as hell about having my wallet skimmed to underwrite this nonsense.


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