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Dumb idea of the day: Hey, let’s encourage a nation in debt to borrow and buy even more!

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By Michelle Malkin  •  November 17, 2008 02:53 PM

I’m tuned to C-SPAN, keeping an eye on the Senate auto bailout/stimulus debates.

Maryland Democrat Sen. Barbara Mikulski just wrapped up her pitch for another temporary stimulus gimmick — short-term tax incentives to car buyers. Unfortunately, she got Missouri GOP Sen. Kit Bond to co-sponsor this $2-3 billion feel-good amendment. The details:

The U.S. Congress will consider legislation next week to provide temporary tax incentives to car buyers, U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said Wednesday, part of a broad Democratic agenda to stabilize the auto sector.

Under the bill she plans to introduce in a coming lame-duck session, interest payments on car loans, and sales and excise taxes would be tax-deductible, Mikulski said. The program, which would apply to new vehicles purchased through the end of 2009, would be part of legislation designed to stimulate the economy.

Speaking to reporters at a Chevrolet dealership in Bethesda, Md., Mikulski said her proposal would “stimulate” car sales and ultimately preserve blue- collar jobs.

“It is the best way to help the American automobile industry,” said Mikulski, a member of the Appropriations Committee.

The proposal could be politically safer than a separate initiative to compel the Bush administration to spend part of the $700 billion Wall Street rescue plan on auto makers. That initiative, being pushed by Democratic leaders in the U.S. House and Senate, is also to be taken up next week.

Mikulski estimated that under her proposal, buyers of a $25,000 Dodge minivan would save $1,553. The incentives would apply to loans of up to $49,500. Households with incomes above $250,000 would not be eligible.

The estimated the cost of the proposal would be between $2 billion and $3 billion, she said.

Three quick points:

1) Now, these same Democrats who scream about global warming want Americans to buy more cars?

2) If they think these tax incentives are such good ideas, go ahead and make them permanent. Go. Ahead.

3) Spending beyond our means is what got this country into trouble in this first place. This kind of temporary political gimmickry is going to exacerbate the problem. Encouraging people to take out $50,000 car loans before the end of the year when they should be saving their money instead?

Brilliant.

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