Sunday, August 24, 2008

Quote of the Day

Obama has also promised that "we will get 1 million 150-mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrids on our roads within six years." What a tranquilizing verb "get" is. This senator, who has never run so much as a Dairy Queen, is going to get a huge, complex industry to produce, and is going to get a million consumers to buy, these cars. How? Almost certainly by federal financial incentives for both -- billions of dollars of tax subsidies for automakers, and billions more to bribe customers to buy these cars they otherwise would spurn.

~George Will

21 Comments:

At 8/24/2008 9:40 AM, Blogger K T Cat said...

I saw that quote, too and loved it.

Of course, if you went back and parsed State of the Union speeches from the last 30 years from presidents on both sides of the aisle, you'd find plenty of unicorns and leprechauns that the president hoped Santa would deliver.

I'm becoming more and more convinced that our problems are not political nor economic, but instead are cultural and moral. Obama and the previous SotU speeches make obvious our refusal to deny ourselves anything at all.

 
At 8/24/2008 9:41 AM, Blogger randian said...

Obama continues to display his Marxist credentials.

 
At 8/24/2008 10:10 AM, Blogger Dave Narby said...

Not that I'm a big fan of government control of the economy, but the last several administrations gave big incentives to build SUVs (reduced emission requirements) and tax breaks to buy them.

So if the next administration wants to give big incentives to build and buy fuel efficient vehicles, I'm all for it.

This is because the decreased load on the consumer to buy motor fuel will result in spending on other things (hopefully locally produced goods and services, and maybe, just MAYBE more savings).

Obama may be a Marxist, but this isn't a Marxist policy - It actually makes sense.

If McCain is smart, he'll adopt this proposal (or better yet, one that's similar, but CONCRETE, e.g. how it will be implemented), compliment Obama for bringing up a good idea... And then point out that he's open minded enough to adopt a good idea no matter where it comes from - Unlike his opponent (who won't agree to massive new drilling, which we need in addition to doing everything else possible to reduce our foreign energy dependency).

 
At 8/24/2008 10:22 AM, Blogger randian said...

big incentives to build SUVs (reduced emission requirements)

Uh, wrong. SUVs are considered passenger cars and must meet the same emissions requirements as cars.

 
At 8/24/2008 10:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What makes you so sure I wouldn't want to buy a hybrid car. I work with a couple of guys (engineers)who drive hybrids, they are pretty smug now that gas prices have gone through the roof.

If Honda and Nissan build an Accord and Maxma that are hybrids, I am definitely interestd. The first hybrids were ugly looking cars, but if I can get a nice looking car that "gets" great gas milage why in the hell wouldn't I want to but a hybrid.

When Nissan and Maxima build enough hybrids to get their manufacturing costs down, of course more people will buy them, there is no downfall to purchasing a hybrid, ask any owner.

 
At 8/24/2008 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that an internship at the Dairy Queen is in order.

 
At 8/24/2008 11:07 AM, Blogger Coach Davis said...

Since you asked, Robin, here is the loophole on getting a $25K write off by buying a vehicle that weighs over 6000lbs:

"A 1997 provision in the U.S. tax code (Section 179) provided small businesses with a tax write-off of up to $25,000 for a vehicle weighing more than 6,000 pounds- used 50% of the time for work purposes. The original intent behind this provision was to encourage investments in pickup trucks, minivans, and other needed service vehicles. A far smaller incentive was provided for cars—less than $7,000 over two years.

The explosion of SUV, pickup, and minivan sales in America’s passenger vehicle fleet has turned this small business benefit into a massive loophole in the tax law. Currently, 38 different passenger SUVs including the Lincoln Navigator, which nets a combined 15 miles per gallon according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Cadillac Escalade (16 mpg), the BMW X5 (18 mpg), the Mercedes-Benz ML55 (16 mpg), and the notorious Hummer H2 (estimated 11 mpg) all weigh more than 6,000 pounds. This loophole allows some of the least fuel-efficient passenger vehicles on the road today to qualify for a significant tax break.

In 2003, the Bush administration proposed increasing the tax deduction to $75,000. Lawmakers responded by expanding it to a whopping $100,000 as part of the $350 million tax cut package. Yet Congress did not change the weight-based classification of the vehicles, creating a huge benefit for the largest, least efficient vehicles.

 
At 8/24/2008 12:01 PM, Anonymous Fred said...

My first thought was "Volkswagen" or peoples' car. It was the same kind of massive let's get everybody a car government program. Obama wants to copy 1930s Germany.

 
At 8/24/2008 1:28 PM, Anonymous Brian said...

>Uh, wrong. SUVs are considered passenger cars and must meet the same emissions requirements as cars.

Maybe something has changed, but they used to be considered light trucks and had substantially easier emissions requirements.

My understanding is that they still have easier requirements than the car classification, but the requirement has been beefed up.

 
At 8/24/2008 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, maybe we will not "get 1 million 150-mile-per-gallon hybrids on our roads within six years" BUT, I applaud his sight.
And,I don't think you have to run a business to have the intelligence to make things happen.

This harkens me back to Jimmy Carter years...he tried to warn us, but, did we REALLY listen ??
I agree with k t cat, this is more of a "cultural and moral" problem.
Honestly, how many more "Incionvenient Truths" have to be produced before we hear the message?

 
At 8/24/2008 2:30 PM, Blogger randian said...

Maybe something has changed, but they used to be considered light trucks and had substantially easier emissions requirements

No, what they had is easier fuel economy requirements.

 
At 8/24/2008 5:42 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Hmmm, a strong socialist, big government showing here...

"So if the next administration wants to give big incentives to build and buy fuel efficient vehicles, I'm all for it"...

Hmmm, why? Why do you need big government to hold your hand in your next vehicle purchase?

"there is no downfall to purchasing a hybrid, ask any owner"...

More than a few hypbrid buyers where I work have buyer's remorse today after buying those roller skates...

"This loophole allows some of the least fuel-efficient passenger vehicles on the road today to qualify for a significant tax break"...

Care to show us something credible about this supposed loophole?

Is it anything like the loophole for hybrids provided courtesy of the tax payers?

Thankfully someone gets it: "Obama wants to copy 1930s Germany"...

Now this is seriously pathetic: "This harkens me back to Jimmy Carter years...he tried to warn us, but, did we REALLY listen ??
...
Honestly, how many more "Incionvenient Truths" have to be produced before we hear the message?
"...

Considering that we've yet to hear any supposedly 'inconvient truths' maybe you should consider all the inconvient facts about Jimmy Carter...

What part of the Constitution mandates federal interference in the manufacture of automobiles?

 
At 8/24/2008 5:50 PM, Blogger Dave Narby said...

It appears emission standards were more relaxed for SUVs (considered light trucks), but until fairly recently, no more.

http://www.sustreport.org/news/tailpipe.html

Sorry, best link I could find w/o excessive googling.

@anonymous coward

"This harkens (sic) me back to Jimmy Carter years...he tried to warn us, but, did we REALLY listen ??
I agree with k t cat, this is more of a "cultural and moral" problem.
Honestly, how many more "Incionvenient (sic) Truths" have to be produced before we hear the message?"

Errmmmm... You're being sarcastic... Right?

 
At 8/24/2008 7:09 PM, Blogger KauaiMark said...

We should all vote for this "dark horse" candidate...

http://kauaimark.blogspot.com/2008/08/another-choice.html

 
At 8/24/2008 7:59 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"We should all vote for this "dark horse" candidate..."...

Hmmm, isn't this how Hussein the Inane got the Democratic nomination?

 
At 8/25/2008 12:16 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> "we will get 1 million 150-mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrids on our roads within six years."

In other words, they are going to FORCE people to buy cars that they don't want, that have no acceleration, an abysmal top-end, and that have major safety concerns? (That being the only way you could hope to get 150mpg from a hybrid)


Oh, yeah, I think McCain's people are already formulating the sales pitch on that one.

 
At 8/25/2008 12:22 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Obama may be a Marxist, but this isn't a Marxist policy - It actually makes sense.

No, sorry, dave, I disagree. I might agree with you about NOT necessarily supporting the sale of SUVs (although "decreasing government regulation" isn't exactly support, since I don't think there should be much regulation in this area AT ALL).

Taking money from my pocket to pay for someone else's car? Marxist.

Charging higher premiums for owning an old car? Marxist.

Charging higher premiums for buying a car based on something other than the singular issue of fuel economy? Marxist.

The market already has a fix in place, and it's been working fine -- it's called the price of fuel.

$4 a gallon has done more to resolve the issue than a 1000 government policies in the last 30 years, and done so by letting people choose for themselves what is important in their lives -- driving or something else.

 
At 8/25/2008 12:41 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> What makes you so sure I wouldn't want to buy a hybrid car. I work with a couple of guys (engineers)who drive hybrids, they are pretty smug now that gas prices have gone through the roof

Then they are idiot engineers, focusing on one narrow thing rather than the whole picture.

1) Current Hybrids all get not substantially better mileage than a Honda Civic with a VTEC engine did 10 years ago, at about 2/3rds the price. I've heard claims of "60mpg". Yeah, right. MAYBE if you pushed 'em off a cliff, for about 2-3 seconds. They certify at only mid-40s.

2) I've seen the zero to 60 speed of them. It's like friggin' 10 seconds. The average car is more like 6 seconds. That's a HELL of a lot of time with a semi bearing down on your ass as you pull onto the interstate because you're running out of acceleration lane.

3) There are some much higher MPG hybrid models on the books. Almost all of them have not passed current safety/impact requirements, and get that kind of mpg from massively lightening the car, i.e., lowering its crashworthiness. They ALSO don't mention their expected top end or 0-60 acceleration. I bet it royally sucks.

4) The price of gas would have to double before it's even to the point where it's worth even trading in a 4yo car. The extra expense between $2/gal and $4/gal for a typical driver(10k miles), at 25mpg, is only $800 per year. Whooptishit. Also half that if your "base" is $3/gal. Not a pittance, but not a pocketbuster, either. If your car is 4yo, you probably almost have it paid off. How much are the car payments, per year, on a new car? More than $800? Uh, YEAH. Further, the typical hybrid is as much as $8-10k more for an otherwise equivalent vehicle. After the additional costs of financing, how much more is it going to be, per year, for a new car vs. a new hybrid? Enough to pay for the savings in gas expense, even if gas prices go to, oh, $6/gal? -- And that's even *if* you were in the market in the first place?. Do the flinkin' numbers. Hybrids aren't a good value. Not yet, anyways.

5) I have yet to see the disposal costs for hybrids identified and detailed out. Depending on how they are built, that's probably one of those things which someone, somewhere, is going to go "Oh, yeaaaaahhhh...." and pass some nice big fat disposal fees onto them... after you've bought it and had it for 2 years.

Hybrids are a load of crap using temporary public hysteria over rising gas prices to sell an idea whose time has probably never come and probably never will -- the whole system needs to switch to some other mechanism, probably hydrogen (yes, needs lots of safety and containment developments, I concur). Not a halfway measure like hybrids.

Mark my words -- five years from now, it'll be as much a "What the hell were people thinking?" notion as Global Warming.

 
At 8/25/2008 9:32 AM, Blogger David said...

"And,I don't think you have to run a business to have the intelligence to make things happen"...he hasn't run *anything*...not a city, not a state, not an infantry division, not a substantial government agency.

There is a big difference between saying "X would be good" and actually getting X done. This truism is less well-understood than it used to be, due to the proliferation of people whose professional lives are spent entirely in working with words and images.

 
At 8/25/2008 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harken:
"Pravis Assuescere Sermonibus Est Via Ad Rem Ipsam.." Anonymous

Translation:
To harken to evil conversation is the road to wickedness...

 
At 8/28/2008 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like how economists are so sure hydrid techology is all crap.

Any engineering droput can tell you how the hybrid cars of tomorrow will only improve and the cost will drop significantly once production of hybrid cars increases, you would think any economist would know that.

In southern California many commuters, drive over 3,000 miles a month so the savings in gas add up quickly.

 

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