A $3,500 Discount to Buy an American Car?
By Dan Murphy with Frank Spotorno
I attended a golf outing last month that featured a Ford Escape SUV that was a prize for a Hole in One. As I read the sticker for the vehicle, I noticed that the engine was made in Poland, but the SUV was ‘assembled in the USA’.
If we all had the chance to buy an American car, which was truly built in America, and we also received a USA discount, would we buy one? Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio is hoping that the answer is yes.
The American Cars, American Jobs Act, would give customers a $3,500 discount when they buy cars made in America. This would cover all passenger vehicles made in Ohio and nearly 100 cars and trucks nationwide. The bill would also revoke a tax cut on overseas profits for auto manufacturers that ship jobs overseas.
“There are two simple parts: customers who buy cars made in America get a discount and corporations that send jobs overseas lose a special tax break,” Sen. Brown said. “We shouldn’t be handing out 50 percent off coupons to companies that send jobs overseas.”
Brown’s bill comes after General Motors recently closed a shift at its plant in Lordstown, Ohio, with 1,500 layoffs. That same day, GM also announced that it was going to start making its popular Chevy Blazer SUV, but it will be built in Mexico.
Qualifying vehicles must be assembled in the U.S. and contain at least 45 percent of materials from the U.S. and Canada. Vehicles from American mainstays like GM and Ford to newer brands like Tesla to foreign companies with an American manufacturing footprint like Nissan, Volkswagen and even Mercedes-Benz would qualify. People who sign up for five-year leases also would qualify for the discount.
The legislation would put U.S.-made cars on equal footing with foreign-made vehicles and update the tax code to remove incentives for auto companies to offshore jobs. The bill would also revoke a special tax cut included in the GOP tax bill for auto companies that send jobs overseas.
The GOP tax law allows some overseas profits to be taxed at a lower 10.5 percent rate, instead of the full 21 percent corporate rate. This bill would tax those overseas profits at the full 21 percent rate for auto companies that cut American jobs since the tax bill passed and increase jobs overseas.
Sen. Brown was joined on the conference call by Rich Rankin, UAW Region 2-B Director, to offer support for Brown’s legislation and to discuss the importance of support American auto workers. “American autoworkers have built the cars our families have driven for decades, and they need our support. Sen. Brown’s bill does just that. The American Cars, American Jobs Act takes important steps to level the playing field for the Ohio auto industry and to make sure Ohio’s tradition of excellence in auto manufacturing continues,” said Rankin.
Consumers would receive their discount at the dealership, and auto dealers would be reimbursed by the U.S. government. Bring our jobs home founder Frank Spotorno supports Sen. Brown’s bill.
“All Americans should support this idea, which would give us all incentives to Buy American, and will also support American jobs. It is also important that we punish our American corporations that do the wrong thing by the American worker and ship our jobs overseas. You can’t have it both ways and take a tax cut and then ship the jobs overseas. I hope that President Trump and my fellow republicans support this bill.”