Not so long ago, I wrote of some of the humorous parts of the tax code. Recently, I became aware that the federal government is now subsidizing the purchase of golf carts and I don’t find that funny at all.
You: Really? They’re subsidizing golf carts?
You: How so?
Like any other subsidy, part of the cost is borne by the purchaser, while part of the cost is paid for by the government.
You: Which government?
Your government (if you live in the United States.)
You: Whose money is this?
Yours, of course.
Actually no. Due to the country’s existing enormous debt, the money is more likely that of your children or grandchildren.
You: What if I don’t have any children yet?
Don’t worry. If and when they’re eventually conceived, their debt will be waiting for them.
You: And part of this debt will be due to golf carts the country is currently purchasing for some private individuals?
You: I don’t remember voting for a golf cart subsidy.
Are you in Congress?
You: And reading a personal finance blog? Learning about money from an unbiased source? Ha! Michael, you’re hysterical.
Good point. I didn’t think I had too many readers inside the capitol. As such, you didn’t vote for the golf cart subsidy.
You: Well, then, who did?
Yes, you seem a bit more incredulous today than normal.
You: Did you see your post’s headline?
Of course, I wrote it.
You: Now you know why I’m in shock. So Congress voted to subsidize golf carts?
Yes, although not intentionally.
You: Wait - so my government accidentally voted to subsidize golf carts?
You: How can a person, let alone an entire government, accidentally vote for something so, ah, I’m searching for the word . . . something so
You: I think I was going for something less kind to the voter’s intelligence.
And you’re sure you’re not in Congress?
You: Who knows? If Congress can accidentally vote to subsidize golf carts maybe I can be in Congress and not know it.
I don’t even know how that’s possible, yet I sort of believe you. So in a way, you’re starting to sound Congressional.
You: But I haven’t actually said anything yet.
That’s kind of my point.
You: Good, because I wasn’t following you.
It’s that sort of honesty that will get you voted out of office.
You: This is so weird.
Like a golf cart subsidy.
You: Exactly, but how did it come to pass?
As reported in The Wall Street Journal, when Congress decided to stimulate the economy by providing a tax credit for the purchase of a high-mileage vehicle, it didn’t take long before those “in the know” started applying the credit to golf carts in their marketing.
You: But a golf cart isn’t a car!
I know that.
For purposes of this credit, most golf carts are considered high mileage vehicles.
You: So what kind of subsidy are we talking about?
Between $4,200 and $5,500.
You: How much does a golf cart even cost?
Between $8,000 and $10,000. Furthermore, some states also provide tax credits for such purchases.
You: So the government pays the bulk of the cost for a new golf cart?
Wow. Furthermore, there’s no limit to the number of golf carts you can buy and some enterprising folks have figured a way out that they can truthfully advertise, again, as reportd in The Wall Street Journal: ”
GET A FREE GOLF CART. Or make $2,000 doing absolutely nothing!”
[See the actual ad here. Note, even though the WSJ didn't provide the actual link, their new ad indicates that they've had an overwhelming response.]
You: So why would the government do this?
Again, I don’t think they did it purposefully.
You: Why don’t they fix it?
Why don’t you fix it?
Aren’t you in Congress?
You: Oh, that’s right, I might be. I’ll get right on that.
Go to the end of the hall, then up the stairs. Ignore the lobbyist waiting outside your office.
# # #
I’m still waiting. So are my children. Are yours?