pushing us toward extinction

Common sense would tell you that this is a time in America’s history when the President should be calling on the American people to pull together and sacrifice, especially with regard to our use of the world’s limited petroleum resources. It should be a time of conservation and of creative thinking. We should take advantage of the time we have to be considering possible ways in which we could transition from a oil-centered society to something new, something clean and sustainable. For innumerable reasons (climactic, political, etc), it makes sense for us to follow a course like this.

What does our present administration do though? They suggest that we widen a tax loophole that allows significant incentives to those who purchase the largest, least fuel-efficient vehicles presently available.

Here’s a clip from an article that ran in today’s New York Times:

The Bush administration’s economic plan would increase by 50 percent or more the deductions that small-business owners can take right away on the biggest sport utility vehicles and pickups.

The plan would mean small businesses could immediately deduct the entire price of S.U.V.’s like the Hummer H2, the Lincoln Navigator and the Toyota Land Cruiser, even if the vehicles were loaded with every available option. Or a business owner, taking full advantage, could buy a BMW X5 sport utility vehicle for a few hundred dollars more than a Pontiac Bonneville sedan, after the immediate tax deductions were factored in…

The tax code now caps deductions for most automobiles. But the largest vehicles — those that weigh more than 6,000 pounds fully loaded — are exempt because the relevant portion of the code was written in the 1980’s, before the rise of the sport utility vehicle, and was intended to exempt big pickups needed on work sites. Now the tax incentives also give business owners not involved in hauling — doctors, real estate agents, accountants — more incentive to buy the biggest S.U.V.’s instead of smaller ones, or cars.

The proposal “makes a glitch in the tax code much worse and it benefits rich businessmen who want to buy massive S.U.V.’s,” said Aileen Roder, program director for Taxpayers for Common Sense. “In essence we’re buying these vehicles for these businesses.”

I’m trying to think of an analogy, but I can’t come up with one. There’s nothing I can think of that’s this ridiculous. To put incentives in place to encourage people to purchase large vehicles that consume more foreign oil is, and I don’t think I’m overstating this, borders on the traitorous.

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