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The Volt shock

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Monday, Jan. 2, 2012

Each Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid sold so far has cost taxpayers far more than the $7,500 federal tax credit for which each Volt buyer qualifies.

But factor in all state and federal assistance offered for development and production -- to not just General (Government) Motors but its Volt-parts suppliers -- and a real shock is delivered:

Each Volt sold could cost taxpayers up to $250,000 -- or $3 billion total.

This new analysis by James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy at Michigan's Mackinac Center for Public Policy, pegs total per-Volt subsidies at $50,000 minimum. Whether that number skyrockets to $250,000 depends on whether targets needed for some subsidies to kick in are ever reached.

If sales are an indication, many won't be.

GM projected 10,000 Volt sales for 2011 but sold just 6,000. That makes all those government tax credits, loans, rebates and grants a textbook case of bureaucratic central planning's inevitable failure for all -- except those riding government's gravy train.

Mr. Hohman's devastating summation:

"This might be the most government-supported car since the Trabant" -- a legendarily awful product of the former East Germany and its communist central planners.

The much higher-tech Volt appears to be driving America down the same dismal road.

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