Wednesday, July 02, 2008

About that $240, redux

Back in December, I talked about how stuffed suit/U.S. Representative John Boehner (Republican - Ohio) joined the charge in deep sixing the bicycle commuter tax credit that was originally contained in the House version of the Energy Bill. It was a $240 tax credit over 15 months for those who regularly commute to work by bicycle. That post also included a video of Mr. Boehner's inspirational speech where he mocked the tax credit in a very mean spirited way and pretty much classified it as wasteful pork barrel spending.

Now, local U.S. Congressman Steven LaTourette (Republican - Bainbridge Township) has proposed a bill that:

will reimburse [automobile] commuters for up to 30 miles per day, round trip. The reimbursement will be for up to five days a week for 50 weeks a year, taking into account that most Americans get two weeks vacation.

Under H.R. 6154, the standard reimbursement will be 4 cents per mile, and vehicles that receive 35 miles per gallon will receive a higher reimbursement of 5 cents a mile, the equivalent of $1.75 off a gallon of gas (5 cents x 35 mpg). The maximum reimbursement will be $375 a year for someone driving 30 miles per day round trip to work for 50 weeks of the year, or 7500 miles. The bill is triggered whenever the national average price of gas is at or above $2.75 a gallon.

I am dying to see how Boehner responds to this proposal. I would bet my entire arsenal of bikes that he supports it.

There are valid arguments for and against both of these tax credits. But, to allow the $375 car credit and not the $240 bike credit is shameful and disgusting.


Mehul said...

It is amazing that these politicians will waste our money to buy our votes. How does he expect to pay for this?!

JimmyNick said...

I agree w/ the above, and eagerly await an explanation of the "valid reasons for" this bill.

ds said...

I said valid *arguments,* not reasons. I personally think the bill is a load of crap, but one could, in theory, make an argument in favor of it without being a complete pandering hypocrite, like Boehner or LaTourette, who classifies himself as "fiscally conservative" on his website. LaTourette's website also includes this nugget, which is so ludicrous in the face of this proposed bill that it could pass as ironic humor:
"There is too much wasteful spending in Washington, and your taxes are too high. No country has every taxed and spent its way to prosperity. I favor making tough choices that will allow us to bring the budget into balance again, while also allowing you to keep more of your hard-earned money."

thump said...

Trying to explain why the feds would fund people to use cars, with all the problems they bring, instead of bicycles, and all the benefits they offer, is akin to figuring out how Milo Minderbinder bought eggs for seven cents, sold them for five, and still made a profit. It's a riddle wrapped in an enigma.

That said, LaTourette apparently gets to define what he thinks is "wasteful spending," and giving money to drivers must not be a wasteful expense. At least to him. But that's the beauty of defining things yourself. You can change the definition when it suits you.

Boehner, on the other hand, has figured out how to cozy up to the oil industry for money to pay for his committee on re-election campaign (or, CREEP, sorry R.M. Nixon) and scratch the backs of his car-reliant constituents in a naked grab for votes all at the same time.

Mehul said...

I guess to add some more, I think this policy is just pushing the snowball down the hill.
LaTourette is proposing that he take money from the tax payers, then give it back to the tax payers so they can then give it to the oil companies. Wow. We are going to subsidize these high prices rather than figure out better means of transportation and designing our cities? Sadly an elected official thinks that this is a good idea?
I think that LaTourette has created a brilliant plan which will allow him to pander to the poor and uneducated (the main people he intends to 'help') and buy some votes.
I think the end is near, that'll be me you see wearing a sandwich board pulling the rest of what little hair remains out of my hurting head.