For my first show, thanks to idiotic “green” tax credits, I was able to get a free golf cart. Totally free. It was because of a bill Charles Rangel sposored, the "Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008". The credit was so big, it covered the full price of the cart. The free credit expired a few months ago, but when I was on the O'Reilly Factor Tuesday, Bill ordered me (can he order me around? I guess so. He’s got the big show and I want to be on it!) to find out how many people used the credit to get free carts.
Turned out I couldn’t find out. The IRS won’t report on 2009 taxes until well after April 15th, and even then, how much was spent of golf carts vs. other dubious “energy saving” vehicles may never be determined. But O’Reilly’s reporter instincts are good. His request led me to discover several interesting things:
A big cart manufacturer opposes the tax credit. CEO Mike Tomberlin says his company is “steering as far from government subsidies and rebates as possible… We don’t recall the government having to help out Henry Ford.”
He added that:
We were happy to see the credit expire. It would have required us to add a lot of additional employers and industry, which then would make a lot of my company dependent on a government subsidy. And I refuse to do that.
Colin Reilly, the Arizona dealer who sold me my cart after twenty local dealers told us they had sold out, said that he sold 9,500 carts under the credit. Your taxes helped him to the tune of about $60 million in revenue.
He added that Mike Huckabee bought three golf carts from him.
I asked Governor Huckabee about that. He said he bought one cart:
But I had a friend who bought 7.... still waiting delivery. I know quite a few people who bought them. The government is making a killing off of me as it is with income taxes---I feel no guilt whatsoever about it---and can’t imagine why the legal tax credit for this is any different than using any other tax credit or deduction. Is it insane for the government to essentially give people golf carts? Of course. But even more insane is taxing our income and productivity in the first place! If they want to have a credible tax system, tax my consumption with a Fair Tax—not my productivity. O’Reilly ought to get one---he can join you and me in being green and environmentally sensitive and at the same time, help put people in the golf cart industry to work and do his patriotic duty to affirm the wisdom of Congress in their energy saving policies....I heard it about from a friend and I thought it was a scam, so I called my accountant and asked him to check it out....he called back and said it is very legitimate; he advised me to get one, and said he was getting one too. I would rather my money go to helping people in private industry build an energy efficient product than giving more than the obscene amount I’m already giving to the Congress!
I’d rather my money go to neither Congress nor golf cart makers, but that’s another story. For the record, buying such electric vehicles does NOT make us “environmentally sensitive.” The National Research Council found that electric cars emit MORE harmful pollutants than gas-powered cars. As they put it: “Although they produce no emissions during operation, they rely on electricity powered largely by fossil fuels for their fuel and energy intensive battery manufacturing.”
- Pre-October 2009