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Post 18 Jul 2012, 8:50 am

Doctor Fate wrote:
rickyp wrote:fate
The IRS does not receive car sales info


Then how do you get the rebate in the first place?


By claiming it.

They won't get the sales info--price, etc. What they will get is a report that you bought a car that qualifies for the rebate. There is no mechanism, that I'm aware of or that I've seen reported, to tell the IRS that you returned the vehicle. Furthermore, I doubt that was written into the credit/rebate law. Who would anticipate a 60-day return policy?


The good doctor is correct. Our system is mostly self-reporting and incredibly complex. The IRS is understaffed, and tends to not have sufficient skill levels for the complexity involved. As a result, honest people pay more taxes, and spend a lot of time (and/or money) trying to figure out the right answer. Dishonest people do whatever they feel like, and cut their tax bill, but run some risks. Many people who are basically honest do not have the time or capability to figure it out and often err on the side of their own benefit, and sometimes don't even know it. The risk is that if the IRS does catch you, you can be in big trouble. Sometimes that results in ruined lives. The whole system is a mess.
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Post 18 Jul 2012, 9:53 am

Does it need to be written into a law for there to be a mechanism? The form has a space for the VIN. The IRS can use various 'mechanisms' such as contacting GM or contacting vehicle registration depts to check:

a) is the VIN valid
b) is it for the claimed vehicle
c) was that vehicle bought by the claimant

Seems reasonable to set that up. So how hard would it be to add

d) has the vehicle been returned under a 60 day warranty

to what is already a fairly straightforward process.
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Post 18 Jul 2012, 12:26 pm

danivon wrote:Does it need to be written into a law for there to be a mechanism? The form has a space for the VIN. The IRS can use various 'mechanisms' such as contacting GM or contacting vehicle registration depts to check:

a) is the VIN valid
b) is it for the claimed vehicle
c) was that vehicle bought by the claimant

Seems reasonable to set that up. So how hard would it be to add

d) has the vehicle been returned under a 60 day warranty

to what is already a fairly straightforward process.


Even if they could do this, and I'm not sure the IRS can make up its own rules like this (I think there is a requirement for this kind of thing to go through Congress), who's going to do it? Not the IRS and not the car dealerships. The IRS has other things to do and dealers don't care.
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Post 18 Jul 2012, 3:10 pm

Sorry, they need to pass a law in order for the IRS to be able to check for obvious fraud? These aren't 'rules', they are checks that people are abiding by the rules.

Clearly if it's such an opportunity for fraud, it's the IRS's job to stop it. If they need to wait for a law to be able to even look, no wonder they are so badly regarded.
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Post 18 Jul 2012, 3:28 pm

One of the stipulations on the tax credit form is "You must be the owner of the vehicle". (There's an exception if you've bought the vehicle and donated it to a charity.)
To make a claim on a vehicle you've returned on warranty after 60 days would make this a fraudulent claim.
Although only a small percentage of people are actually audited, since the plug in credit was abused the first year it was introduced (The Inspector General claimed 20% of claims were fraudulent) it may well be an item that recieves special attention.
I wonder if the risk of penalties or jail are worth making a fraudulent claim for a $7500 rebate? Especially since it involves having to actually make a purchase of a car and then return it.....
Dealing with new car sales can be as daunting as dealing with the IRS for many people...
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Post 10 Sep 2012, 3:06 pm

Yeah, the Volt is awesome!

Nearly two years after the introduction of the path-breaking plug-in hybrid, GM is still losing as much as $49,000 on each Volt it builds, according to estimates provided to Reuters by industry analysts and manufacturing experts. GM on Monday issued a statement disputing the estimates.

Cheap Volt lease offers meant to drive more customers to Chevy showrooms this summer may have pushed that loss even higher. There are some Americans paying just $5,050 to drive around for two years in a vehicle that cost as much as $89,000 to produce.

And while the loss per vehicle will shrink as more are built and sold, GM is still years away from making money on the Volt, which will soon face new competitors from Ford, Honda and others.

GM's basic problem is that "the Volt is over-engineered and over-priced," said Dennis Virag, president of the Michigan-based Automotive Consulting Group.

And in a sign that there may be a wider market problem, Nissan, Honda and Mitsubishi have been struggling to sell their electric and hybrid vehicles, though Toyota's Prius models have been in increasing demand.

GM's quandary is how to increase sales volume so that it can spread its estimated $1.2-billion investment in the Volt over more vehicles while reducing manufacturing and component costs - which will be difficult to bring down until sales increase.

But the Volt's steep $39,995 base price and its complex technology — the car uses expensive lithium-polymer batteries, sophisticated electronics and an electric motor combined with a gasoline engine — have kept many prospective buyers away from Chevy showrooms.

Some are put off by the technical challenges of ownership, mainly related to charging the battery. Plug-in hybrids such as the Volt still take hours to fully charge the batteries - a process that can be speeded up a bit with the installation of a $2,000 commercial-grade charger in the garage.

PLANT SHUTDOWN

The lack of interest in the car has prevented GM from coming close to its early, optimistic sales projections. Discounted leases as low as $199 a month helped propel Volt sales in August to 2,831, pushing year-to-date sales to 13,500, well below the 40,000 cars that GM originally had hoped to sell in 2012.


I don't want to start another thread, but the lies Obama and Biden have been telling about the GM bailout are pretty startling:

Admirers of the GM bailout should bear in mind that it was the Bush administration that first decided to intervene at the firm, offering a bridge loan on the condition that it draw up a deeply revised business plan. President Obama’s unique contribution was effectively to nationalize the company, seeing to it that the federal government violated normal bankruptcy processes and legal precedent to protect the defective element at the heart of GM’s troubles: the financial interests of the UAW. It did this by strong-arming GM’s bondholders into taking haircuts in order to sweeten the pot for the UAW. The Obama administration also creatively construed tax law to relieve GM of tens of billions of dollars in obligations — at the same time that Barack Obama & Co. were caterwauling about the supposed lack of patriotism of firms that used legal means rather than political favoritism to reduce their tax bills.
Mitt Romney’s proposal for a structured bankruptcy would have necessitated considerable federal involvement, too, but with a key difference: The UAW contracts would have been renegotiated, and GM’s executive suites would have been cleaned out, placing the company on a path toward innovation and self-sufficiency rather than permanent life support. Which is to say, Obama did for GM what he is doing by un-reforming welfare: creating a dependent constituency.

The Democrats cling to the ridiculous claim that the bailout of GM and its now-Italian competitor, Chrysler, saved 1.5 million U.S. jobs. This preposterous figure is based on the assumption that if GM and Chrysler had gone into normal bankruptcy proceedings, the entire enterprise of automobile manufacturing in the United States would have collapsed — not only at GM and Chrysler but at Ford and foreign transplants such as Toyota and Honda. Not only that, the Democrats’ argument goes, but practically every parts maker, supplier, warehousing agency, and services firm dedicated to the car industry would have collapsed, too. In fact, it is unlikely that even GM or Chrysler would have stopped production during bankruptcy: The assembly lines would have continued rolling, interest and debt payments would have been cut, and — here’s the problem — union contracts would have been renegotiated. Far from having saved 1.5 million jobs, it is not clear that the GM bailout saved any — only that it preserved the UAW’s unsustainable arrangement.


The whole article is worth reading.
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Post 13 Sep 2012, 6:02 am

The Pentagon buying Volts? This makes sense . . . how?

GM has spent $1.2 billion developing the electric car and is still working out kinks, such as the Volt’s tendency to electrocute firefighters and first responders to accidents. The Department of Defense has been involved in that process, helping to test the Volt’s battery safety and capabilities.

Obama has made the auto bailout a centerpiece on the campaign trail despite GM’s recent woes. The company’s stock has fallen about 40 percent since it emerged from bankruptcy. GM and its lending arm, Ally Bank, owe $42 billion on their $57 billion bailout. The government still has a stake in GM.

The Pentagon’s massive car-buying scheme is the latest example of government trying to help GM raise its sales volumes. The General Services Administration of Las Vegas fame purchased 100 Volts in 2011 for various agencies.


Well, I guess it does make political sense. Financially, it's idiotic.
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Post 19 Oct 2012, 12:42 pm

What a sweet investment! This is what you call "investing in the future" when you're wasting other people's money.

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) - Workers at LG Chem, a $300 million lithium-ion battery plant heavily funded by taxpayers, tell Target 8 that they have so little work to do that they spend hours playing cards and board games, reading magazines or watching movies.

They say it's been going on for months.

"There would be up to 40 of us that would just sit in there during the day," said former LG Chem employee Nicole Merryman, who said she quit in May.

"We were given assignments to go outside and clean; if we weren't cleaning outside, we were cleaning inside. If there was nothing for us to do, we would study in the cafeteria, or we would sit and play cards, sit and read magazines," said Merryman. "It's really sad that all these people are sitting there and doing nothing, and it's basically on taxpayer money."

Two current employees told Target 8 that the game-playing continues because, as much as they want to work, they still have nothing to do.

"There's a whole bunch of people, a whole bunch," filling their time with card games and board games," one of those current employees said.

That employee says some workers are doing odd jobs around the building, including cleaning and maintenance, while others hang out in the cafeteria playing video games, Texas hold-'em and Monopoly or doing Sudoku or crossword puzzles -- all on company time. The employee said some watch movies.

"There's no work, no work at all. Zero work," another current employee said. "It is what it is. What do you do when there's no work?"

. . .

The plant all started with such great hope, and a presidential groundbreaking in July 2010.

"This is a symbol of where Michigan is going, this is a symbol of where Holland is going, and this is a symbol of where America's going," Pres. Barack Obama told a crowd at the groundbreaking.

Nicole Merryman was among the first in line for a job.

"It was something exciting, and I thought it would be better for the family, more overtime, more money," said Merryman, who said she worked on a line that folded the battery cells.

The company's goal: 300 employees pumping out 15 million battery cells a year. Its biggest customer: The Chevrolet Volt.

The U.S. Department of Energy provided a $151 million grant, part of Obama's Recovery Act.


Heckuva job, Mr. President!
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Post 20 Oct 2012, 6:28 am

Sitting around playing Monopoly? Unbelievable!!! Can't someone get in there to teach them Diplomacy, or maybe some Settlers, or Puerto Rico? Can you imagine, being paid to play games, and you choose Monopoly? Brings a tear to my eye.
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Post 20 Oct 2012, 7:05 am

geojanes wrote:Sitting around playing Monopoly? Unbelievable!!! Can't someone get in there to teach them Diplomacy, or maybe some Settlers, or Puerto Rico? Can you imagine, being paid to play games, and you choose Monopoly? Brings a tear to my eye.


You're right, of course. $151M to learn Dip-- that would be a good investment.
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Post 20 Oct 2012, 8:42 am

Doctor Fate wrote:
geojanes wrote:Sitting around playing Monopoly? Unbelievable!!! Can't someone get in there to teach them Diplomacy, or maybe some Settlers, or Puerto Rico? Can you imagine, being paid to play games, and you choose Monopoly? Brings a tear to my eye.


You're right, of course. $151M to learn Dip-- that would be a good investment.


too funny ... perhaps you guys should plan a road trip to spread the word.
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Post 20 Oct 2012, 9:11 am

Ray Jay wrote:too funny ... perhaps you guys should plan a road trip to spread the word.


At least it's useful Keynesian economics--the proliferation of the greatest game known to Man.
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Post 23 Feb 2013, 3:52 pm

The foolishness of electric vehicles explained.

This reviewer may have good technical qualifications, but he should not try writing about economics. When he talks about saving a few dollars on gasoline, surely he is aware that the Tesla model he and Broder were testing costs about $100,000. If you're concerned about saving money, you might want to consider spending "only" $45,000 on a traditional luxury car—maybe a nice BMW—and putting the extra $55,000 into a gasoline fund. Even at today's prices, that ought to last you—let's see—a couple of decades. So much for the economic argument for an electric car.

As to the Times reporter, John Broder issued a point-by-point reply to Elon Musk, which basically boils to blaming his problems on bad advice he got from the technicians at Tesla, whom he repeatedly contacted by phone during his trip.

But this misses the biggest point: since when is driving a car supposed to be so complicated? The whole point of technology is to use the machine's energy and yes, to burn up natural resources, in order to save human effort. The machines are supposed to work for us; we don't work for them. This is especially true of the automobile, which is all about freedom, independence, going out on the open road and deciding on the spur of the moment where you want to go—not about filing a flight plan and having technicians talk you through your trip.

I understand that the first round of a new technology doesn't always work well and early adopters may have to make tradeoffs and accept limitations. But the Tesla is supposed to be the electric car without tradeoffs. This is supposed to be a mass-market car, the first wave of electric vehicles that can be manufactured and sold in truly industrial-scale quantities. It's not supposed to be for hobbyists who don't mind tinkering around with an experimental vehicle for the sake of technology curiosity.

But the folks at Tesla have gotten swept up in the quasi-religious hype of environmentalism. They're not just manufacturing a curiosity for hobbyists. They're saving the planet, one preening and sanctimonious upper-middle-class driver at a time.

In service to this environmentalist posturing, they've turned the whole purpose of technology on its head. We have to use more of our, human resources—more of our precious time and effort—in order to save natural resources. The machines can't serve us, because we have to serve nature. Instead of making labor-saving devices, they're making labor-sucking devices. And if we complain that the new green technology isn't good enough, we're told that it is we who are not good enough for the technology.

That's why the electric car, in its current incarnation, is a technological abomination.
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Post 25 Feb 2013, 7:37 am

That story is sooooo familiar! My boss owns a Volt, he got it back in the Summer. He used to tell us we were all foolish if we didn't buy a Lexus. It didn't dawn on him that he does not pay us enough to afford a Lexus but no, everyone should drive a Lexus! Then he got the Volt and suddenly everyone should drive a Volt!
Two of us did separate math calculations and showed him how it was not saving him any money and while the Volt is a nice car, it is not as luxurious as his Lexus or other cars of a similar price to the Volt.
So he stepped down in luxury to "save" on gas. (a Prius was a far better option)

But while the math is lost on me right now, it went something like he would break even if gas was about $5.00/gallon AND he maxed out the charging distance so that he drove about 30 miles to work and charged it while at work (he does not drive 30 miles each way and he does not charge at work) and then 30 miles back home to then re-charge. (you need to charge twice a day at $5 gas)
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Post 25 Feb 2013, 7:52 am

Tom, your boss might have bought one of the first flat screen HD Plasma televisions too. When they were $10,000.
And most of us couldn't justify that, and would have been interested to know that a lot of them suffered from technical problems like Plasma roll, and burn in images...
But 15 years later and everyone has a flat screen HD, and many at twice the size of the original screens... and bigger.
The product cylcle needs people like your boss. Early adapters who will, for the sake of their personal values and egos, test the newest damn thing.
And as engineers respond to their complications, the product engineering will improve and the cost of production will decline.
We're still fairly early in the reintroduction of electric vehicles. If batteries develop like they did for computers since the first lap tops .... they'll be successful. If they don't ... maybe not.
I wouldn't bet against the technology when its still following the traditional new product development cycle.