By Brian Beutler
Things just keep getting better and better:
The Senate voted Tuesday to provide tax breaks to spur new auto purchases….The $11.5 billion auto amendment, adopted 71-26, would give an income-tax deduction to car buyers for both sales taxes and interest payments on auto loans. The action applies to purchases of foreign and domestic autos, but reflects a broad desire on Capitol Hill to shore up the shaky U.S. industry.
You don’t even have to ask if there’s a fuel-efficiency requirement in the amendment. In an economic environment as bad as this one, a lot of people who would otherwise be buying new or newer cars will just decide to keep their old, inefficient ones. That’s to be expected. But while we can’t expect to erect state of the art transit systems for them over night, we can give them the extra push they need to trade now, rather than later. There are a number of ways to do this, of course, but you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the Senate picked one of the least forward-looking, most auto-industry friendly among them.