Monday, April 6, 2009

simple ways to fix detroit

i know little about cars; i know more about the car business though. i'm amazed how little the president and his administration and congress seem to know about the car business. it's as if none of them actually owned a car before.

here's a small list of things that actually might help the car business:

finance dealers. dealers buy cars from the factory on credit. but credit is tough to come by now, which means dealers don't have enough stock to entice buyers. the sba created a loan plan, but it doesn't work because it requires car dealers to have high credit ratings, which few do.

subsidize buyers. we've got a tax credit on home purchases. why not one on cars? buy a new car, made by anyone, here or imported, and you get a 10% tax credit, regardless of income. the state sales tax should be allowed as an income tax deduction, again with no phase-out tied to income.

back off from electric cars. we're talking about very large extra costs, $6,000 to $10,000 for a hybrid, and much more for an electric car, which will probably have serious operational and maintenance problems and be so difficult to fuel as to be impractical. people won't buy them.

be realistic about novel engines. research on ways to replace the gasoline engine is okay; decreeing that the problem has been solved is not okay.

enforce existing rules to dampen speculation in petroleum. that doesn't mean gasoline prices can't go up; or down; it means they can't vary wildly and quickly between $4 a gallon and $1.60, because the industry can't survive this volatility.

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