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Rich People Win, Poor Kids Lose, in Obama's America

Posted By Mike Brownfield On February 13, 2012 @ 5:47 pm In Education,Featured | Comments Disabled

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Want a clear indication of President Barack Obama’s priorities? Take a look at the spending decisions emerging from his Administration today. In the battle between $40,000 dollar-electric-car-buying yuppies and at-risk kids in the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, rich people won, and they have President Obama to thank for it.

The Winners:

Today, President Obama put the taxpayers’ money where his allegiances lie. The Daily Caller reports [2] that the White House intends to increase taxpayer-funded subsidies for those who purchase new-technology vehicles, including the Chevy Volt, to $10,000 per buyer, up from $7,500.

In case you haven’t been shopping for a Volt — and odds are, you haven’t — the vehicle carries a hefty $41,000 price tag. So what kind of person benefits from that tax credit? General Motors says [3] the average income of a Volt buyer is $175,000 per year. And according to Bill Visnic [3], senior editor for Edmunds.com, “The Volt appeals to an affluent, progressive demographic.” In other words: rich yuppies.

The Daily Caller reports that the subsidy “would cost taxpayers $100 million each year if it is approved by Congress, presuming only 10,000 new-technology autos are sold each year.” And if the President reaches his goal of putting 1 million of those kinds of cars on the road by 2015, the subsidy could cost $10 billion.

Why is the subsidy necessary? It’s no big mystery. Despite the slick marketing, high-gas mileage, and environmentally friendly cachet that comes along with them, the cars just aren’t selling. In January, General Motors sold 603 Volts — almost twice as many as in January 2010, but less than half of its total sales in December. And in 2011, GM missed its projected sales volume [4] for the vehicle, shipping 7,671 of the vehicles — well short of its target of 10,000.

Automakers, of course, have a lot riding on the vehicles — but so does President Obama. His Administration has banked heavily on the vehicles being an important part of his energy policy and the “new green economy.” That strategy, though, is failing. No matter how much the President wants consumers to buy electric cars, most consumers don’t want them. But whether they like it or not, those consumers are subsidizing the buyers who do.

The Losers:

While the rich are riding in their taxpayer-subsidized electric cars, the losers in President Obama’s America are at-risk kids languishing in under-performing schools in Washington, D.C. As part of his FY 2013 budget, President Obama eliminates funding for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which throws a school choice lifeline to children who would otherwise be left hopeless in Washington’s public school system.

Thanks to the program, more than 1,600 low-income children [5] in the nation’s Capital are using vouchers this school year to attend a school that they choose. The program has been a stunning success. Heritage’s Lindsey Burke writes [6]:

According to federally-mandated evaluations of the program, student achievement has increased, and graduation rates of voucher students have increased significantly. While graduation rates in D.C. Public Schools hover around 55 percent, students who used a voucher to attend private school had a 91 percent graduation rate [7].

How much does this kind of success cost? A mere $8,000 per student, compared to the estimated $18,000 spent per child by D.C. Public Schools.

To be clear: $10,000 in taxpayer funds to subsidize the purchase of an electric car versus $8,000 to give a child a choice in education. We know what the President chose. Which would you pick?


Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/02/13/rich-people-win-poor-kids-lose-in-obamas-america/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/Obama-Volt-factory.jpg

[2] The Daily Caller reports: http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/13/obama-hikes-subsidy-to-wealthy-electric-car-buyers/#ixzz1mIiRlYON

[3] says: http://autos.aol.com/article/why-the-chevy-volt-is-attracting-wealthy-buyers/

[4] missed its projected sales volume: http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-57352046-54/chevy-volt-misses-first-year-sales-target/?tag=mncol;txt

[5] more than 1,600 low-income children: http://www.dcscholarships.org/elements/file/OSP/2011_11_22%20-%20Press%20Release%20%282011-12%20OSP%20Enrollment%29.pdf

[6] Lindsey Burke writes: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/02/13/presidents-budget-eliminates-funding-for-d-c-opportunity-scholarship-program/

[7] 91 percent graduation rate: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20104018/index.asp

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