Government Rebates for Superbowl Tickets

Vermont Tiger raises a great point about the Volt:  (ht Maggies Farm)

The Volt comes with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $40,280 and a rebate from Uncle Sam of $7500. GM only plans to make 10,000 Volts this year; and there aren't enough of them to go around. So, naturally, dealers are marking them up – some by much more than the retail amount. One Florida dealer is asking $65,590 (see Motor Trend for details). You might be able to get one on eBay for around $48,000 – after rebate that gets you right back to list price. Hmmm….

No car dealer or manufacturer would offer a rebate on a product that is in backorder status for the foreseeable future. But that's exactly what your government is doing. Even if you believe that there is a compelling reason for the government to want us all to shift to partially electric cars, it's clear that no incentive is required to sell all 10,000 cars available this year since people are buying them at markups which counteract the incentive. In this case the rebate dollars go to dealer margin. Note deficit cutting opportunity.

$75,000,000 down the drain to subsidize upper-middle-class people who want to make a statement about themselves.  Yet another public investment in the self-esteem of the wealthy and our rulers.  In ancient Rome they built coliseums.  In the middle ages they built cathedrals.   In communist countries they built giant statues of their leaders and tractor plants.  Today we subsidize quasi-electric cars and windmills.  None of it makes much sense as way to spend the average person's money, but it makes the elite feel really, really good about themselves.  One wonders what the cumulative historic bill has been for ego maintenance of our rulers.

  • me

    Grrr. Arrrg. -Breathes deeply-.

    Why oh why do we allow our politicians to waste our money so blatantly?

    Instead of investing into something tangible like... oh... (this is where I go a bit offtopic, but I am pretty sure longterm readers of this blog might enjoy the article)... light rail? ;*)

    Turns out even in countries with an enormous population density, sinking a lot into infrastructure instead of relying on highly adaptable systems is fraught with peril: http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2011/02/speculation-investment-scandals-fraud.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+MishsGlobalEconomicTrendAnalysis+(Mish's+Global+Economic+Trend+Analysis)

  • http://tjic.com TJIC

    > $75,000,000 down the drain to subsidize upper-middle-class people who want to make a statement about themselves.

    Small change compared to the amount poured down the rat hole of "education" (which usually does not educate).

  • spiro

    speaking of the Super Bowl, did anyone else notice how much commercial time was bought up by Government Motors?

    Brilliant.

  • Dan

    I'm not saying the government should necessarily subsidize electric cars. But I never hear anyone on this board complain about the trillions spent by the government over the last 50 years so our military could protect oil shipments from the Middle East. Electric cars may not be the answer. But subsidizing big oil companies isn't cheap either.

  • Fred

    "trillions spent by the government over the last 50 years so our military could protect oil shipments from the Middle East."

    I think they also protected the same sea lanes so America could export what it produced and import all the other things it doesn't.

    Of course you could be correct and the only purpose of the USN is to escort inbound oil tankers. Especially the ones from Alaska.

  • Dan

    I never said that was the only purpose of the USN. But considering how much oil we've imported from the Middle East in the last 50 years, it's accurate to suspect that our USN operations in that region had a lot to do with protecting the flow of oil.

    And I'm not against that. We need the stuff, and we need to protect the sealanes so the oil can get through. But don't pretend the government hasn't spent money on the oil economy, and criticize it for spending a pittance on electric cars.

  • MikeinAppalachia

    And one could argue that protecting sea lanes is necessary while the pittance isn't.

  • MJ

    $75,000,000 down the drain to subsidize upper-middle-class people who want to make a statement about themselves. Yet another public investment in the self-esteem of the wealthy and our rulers.

    It's just a "down payment", as our president is fond of saying. They are hoping that we unsophisticated rubes will eventually mimic our societal betters and join them in correct forms of consumption.

  • Rick

    Electric car equals coal or oil fired car so you could reasonably argue that the USN has spent just as much time protecting electricity.

  • Mike Tr.

    If buy an electric car in the SF Bay Area, California will reimburse you $1475 to install an electric car charger in your home. This is on top of all the other rebates, incentives, subsidies, etc. That one company ECOtality gets $2.2 million to install only 1500 home chargers. This is complete insanity.

    http://www.baaqmd.gov/~/media/Files/Communications%20and%20Outreach/Publications/News%20Releases/2011/ev_110202_2.ashx

  • Ryan

    "Dan:

    I’m not saying the government should necessarily subsidize electric cars. But I never hear anyone on this board complain about the trillions spent by the government over the last 50 years so our military could protect oil shipments from the Middle East. Electric cars may not be the answer. But subsidizing big oil companies isn’t cheap either."

    I'll complain. It's kind of a forced subsidy, don't you think? The oil companies are specifically disallowed from protecting their own shipments, which necessitates the government stepping in and taxing us to provide the security that the oil companies (or anyone else) is prohibited from providing for themselves. Then we complain that they are taxing us all to provide a subsidy.