John McCain hopes to solve the country's energy crisis with cold hard cash.I really have to hand it to Old Crazypants. Not only has he shaken off any little bit of Old Republican reticence about distorting the marketplace; not only has he figured out the corporate welfare is really a very, very good thing (especially when the welfare-mama executives can help out with the campaign cash); not only is he a master of engineering (both mechanical and electrical); but he's also become highly astute in public relations. Notice that not once did he refer to a "Five-Year Plan" to modernize the automotive industry. Not once did he refer to any heroic great leap forward by the People's Battery Engineering Collective. Not once did he threaten to purge the saboteurs and enemy agents who have undermined the work of the Ministry of Transport. He didn't even call them f-----g c---s. Guy's getting downright smooth in his old age.
The presumed Republican nominee is proposing a $300 million government prize to whoever can develop an automobile battery that far surpasses existing technology. The bounty would equate to $1 for every man, woman and child in the country, "a small price to pay for helping to break the back of our oil dependency," McCain said in remarks prepared for delivery Monday at Fresno State University in California.
McCain said such a device should deliver power at 30 percent of current costs and have "the size, capacity, cost and power to leapfrog the commercially available plug-in hybrids or electric cars."
The Arizona senator is also proposing stiffer fines for automakers who skirt existing fuel-efficiency standards, as well as incentives to increase use of domestic and foreign alcohol-based fuels such as ethanol.
In addition, a so-called Clean Car Challenge would provide U.S. automakers with a $5,000 tax credit for every zero-carbon emissions car they develop and sell.
"In the quest for alternatives to oil, our government has thrown around enough money subsidizing special interests and excusing failure," said excerpts from McCain's prepared text. "From now on, we will encourage heroic efforts in engineering, and we will reward the greatest success."
And as for those standards-skirting automakers: to the labor camps with 'em!