Maybe it was the rush to get home for last-minute campaigning, but Congress showed uncharacteristic leadership on several painful issues affecting the auto industry when it hashed out details of the $170 billion tax bill.
At one time it seemed as if hefty tax credits might be necessary to stimulate sales of hybrids. But proposed tax credits of $8,000 for people who buy a fuel cell vehicle and $4,000 for those who purchase a hybrid made no sense.
Demand for hybrids has been so strong that there is a waiting list for most of the models, which is proof they don't need tax-dollar incentives.
Fuel cell vehicles won't be available for several years, so there is no need for incentives. Congress may have to revisit the issue later.
It's better to save the technology tax credits for when they might really be needed.
Perhaps. But it would have amounted to a government handout. For most dealers, the GM payment was adequate compensation. Some dealers could use additional relief, but looking for tax-dollar pork in Washington is not the right way to do it. Killing it was the right thing to do.
Now the maximum amount a business can deduct in one year for a new SUV is $25,000, not $100,000. However, the $100,000 write-off was unchanged for large pickups and vans used in business. In the end, even the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers couldn't object.
It's too bad Congress didn't show the same leadership and fiscal discipline when it came to other parts of the tax bill.