GM: Tax Americans more so they’ll buy our cars
Since the auto bailout apparently was enough, General Motors wants more government favors to influence Americans into buying fuel efficent cars by increasing gas taxes to as much as $1 per gallon:
General Motors CEO Dan Akerson doesn’t think people are embracing fuel-efficient cars fast enough, and he’s got a brilliant solution to “nudge” consumers in the “right” direction: raise the federal gas tax by as much as one dollar per gallon.
You read that right. A dollar per gallon. It’s 18.4 cents right now.
Akerson has loads of praise for the nice people who gave him billions of dollars, so he could continue his unsustainable business model. He told the Detroit News “I have nothing but good things to say about them.” He’s not talking about you, silly. Your free choices are what brought GM’s unsustainable business model to the edge of bankruptcy. He’s talking about the nice government people who took those billions away from you by force, and used them to override the judgment of the market.
Now your judgment in car purchase must be over-ridden once again, and massive new taxes are ideal tool for getting the job done. The Detroit News tells us Akerson believes “a government-imposed tax hike will prompt more people to buy small cars and do more good for the environment than forcing automakers to comply with higher gas-mileage standards.”
After all, the already subsidized Chevy Volt, essentially the United States’ version of the Trabant, isn’t selling that well (under 2,200 have been sold this year); dashing hopes that it would be a boon to a company that has leeched off taxpayers.
Financial analyist Jonathan Hoenig, who believes the taxpayer-owned GM still hasn’t bottomed out, writes:
GM’s willingness to use political influence for corporate gain hit an absurd and nearly pathological height this week when current CEO Dan Akerson, who also receives yearly compensation of more than $9 million, advocated raising federal taxes on gasoline in order to prompt consumers to buy more fuel efficient cars. “We ought to just slap a $0.50 or $1 tax on a gallon of gas,” Akerson told the Detroit News. “People will start buying more Cruzes and they will start buying less Suburbans.”
Overlooking for a moment the terror of an executive who actually sees federal taxation as a legitimate business strategy, Akerson neglects to mention that even given today’s historically high gas prices, GM’s heavily subsidized Volt sold a grand total of 481 vehicles in May. Perhaps he’d prefer a law that simply required taxpayers to buy GM cars?
Of course, the federal government often influences behavior and picks winners and losers through various incentives and in the tax code. But GM’s request to influence Americans to buy cars that people don’t seem to want to buy is nothing more than cronyism, no different than bailouts.