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Opinion
The Editors

EV Tax Credits Are Good. Protectionism Is Bad.

If the goal is to maximize the use of electric vehicles, why does the president’s plan exclude the most prominent manufacturers?

Give credits where due.

Give credits where due.

Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

President Joe Biden says his Build Back Better plan aims to confront the “existential threat of climate change.” So it’s unfortunate that in privileging union jobs over just about any other goal, a crucial element of the legislation would do just the opposite.

Included in Section 136401 of the House version of the BBB proposal is what looks like a harmless effort to promote electric vehicles. The bill offers a $7,500 refundable tax credit for most EVs. Consumers can then claim additional credits of up to $5,000 — but there’s a catch. To qualify for the full write-off, an EV must be manufactured by union workers, assembled in the U.S. and made with American batteries. Even the base credit phases out for all but American-made cars in five years.