Friday, February 13, 2009


Politico's Glenn Thrush carries the GOP's water:

Golf cart stimulus

Hot off the presses. New GOP talking points on the stimulus compromise -- suitable for talk radio and today's floor speeches.

Highlights, courtesy Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office:

• Tax Benefits For Golf Carts, Electric Motorcycles and ATVs: (Pg. 60 of the Tax Division of Conference Report, lines 9-16, "(2) SPECIFIED VEHICLE.—The term 'specified vehicle' means any vehicle which--"(A) is a low speed vehicle within the meaning of section 571.3 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on the date of the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009), or "(B) has 2 or 3 wheels.")....

I'm having trouble getting into the complete text of the bill, but, er, these "golf carts" wouldn't happen to be the same vehicles the New York Post was whinging about a couple of days ago, would they? The ones that aren't golf carts at all?


The federal government is preparing to spend millions to purchase a fleet of small electric vehicles that critics compare to golf carts.

The $838 billion economic stimulus bill that passed the Senate yesterday contains $300 million for the government to purchase a fleet of "green" cars.

But the money won't just go to buy fuel-efficient hybrids such as the Ford Escape or Chevy Volt.

The cash also can be used to purchase "neighborhood electric vehicles."

The NEVs, which resemble streamlined golf carts, scoot at up to 25 mph, operate on battery power and can be plugged into 110-volt outlets for charging.

They are sometimes used at hospitals, college campuses and retirement communities, and can cost around $8,000 each. They don't produce carbon emissions....

Although the origins of the provision are unclear, it could be a boon to North Dakota-based NEV manufacturer Global Electric Motorcars, a division of Chrysler....

Oh. So these are green work-related vehicles? They're not golf carts?

So don't call them golf carts, dammit. I'm not talking to the Republicans -- asking them not to lie is like asking a dog not to piss on a hydrant. I'm talking to Glenn Thrush.

Yeah, they're silly-looking -- when I was in college, we thought the ones in use on campus were equally silly-looking. We called them Cushmans.

(I'll add, however, that one day, a few months after I graduated, I was at an ATM near campus talking to a woman I knew when a thief reached around us and grabbed her money out of the machine. I ran after the thief -- futilely, because I wasn't fast, even in my twenties -- but then a Cushman-driving security guy who'd left campus noticed the chase, joined in, and eventually caught the guy, who was then arrested. So my Cushman memories aren't all negative.)

If it's generally accepted that these are useful work-related vehicles that will have to be replaced sooner or later, and the new ones won't use fossil fuels, and buying the new ones now will keep North Dakotans employed until private-sector demand picks up, then what the hell is the problem?

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