Planet Gore

Levin’s green break for the wealthy (like himself)

Taxpayers already pay Senator Carl Levin a handsome income of $165,000 as U.S. senator. Now they’ll be forking over another $7,500 to subsidize his auto purchases.

Levin bought a Chevy Volt this spring in tony Ann Arbor, Michigan, joining a Who’s Who list of green celebrities and politicians to add the pricey plug-in to their stable. Like the Toyota Prius hybrid before it, the Volt — which stickers for a luxurious $41,000— is marketed to six-figure swells.

To take the edge off, Levin and his pals have voted themselves a $7,500 tax credit. Indeed, Levin’s Michigan Senate colleague, Debbie Stabenow, has introduced a bill to make it even easier for the rich to get their green. The Charging America Forward Act would give buyers the $7,500 at the time of purchase, so they don’t have to wait a year to burden their tax accountants.

A legendary class warrior, Levin has long argued that “tax breaks for the wealthy” are the root of federal deficits.

“The policy decision that contributed most to our deficits are the Bush-era tax cuts — tax cuts that were skewed toward the wealthiest Americans,” Levin says on his website. “Ending those tax cuts for the wealthy is important for fairness and to reduce our deficit. Since coming to Congress, I have worked to ensure that taxes are levied fairly. That means closing loopholes and ending abusive tax shelters.”

Yet, Levin has been a champion of corporate welfare for wealthy corporations that toe the green agenda. Companies like Dow and LGChem and A123 Systems and the Detroit Three have received hundreds of millions in special tax breaks and government subsidies.

And Levin has not spoken out against the $7,500 tax loophole for wealthy green buyers. Indeed, says a Levin spokeswoman, Sen. Levin “plans to take the tax credit.”

Apparently wealthy car buyers like himself deserve a little skewing.

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