From the Chicago Tribune:
Domestic automakers would get health care assistance in exchange for investing 50 percent of the savings into technology to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles. In addition, Obama said he would provide automakers with generous tax incentives for retooling assembly plants.
That's an interesting concept - leveraging the health of a company's workers with a 50% of the savings from the company not having to provide it....
I generally like the idea of promoting alternative fuel. My belief is that the US needs the impetus for substitutes for gas FIRST before taxation can be discussed. A tax hike on gas without substitutes or infrastructure for substitutes really in existence simply is not a very good idea from a consumer/environment point of view.
This though sounds a bit heavy handed.... How are these technologies defined? What form is this "health care assistance" in? Who determines what the "savings" are? Where is government getting the money for all this - fixing health care, the environment, and 'saving' a dying industry all in one swoop? Sounds a bit fanciful to me, not to mention incredibly distortionary!