Americans bought 16 million vehicles in 2007, 13 million in 2008, and they are on pace to buy 9 million this year. Considering these statistics, it’s not hard to imagine why both Chrysler and GM are in bankruptcy and tens of thousands of auto workers are on the unemployment lines. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Earlier this year, I introduced legislation to give Americans incentives to buy new vehicles. The New Automobile Voucher Act of 2009 (HR 1606) would provide a one-time, $5,000 electronic voucher from the U.S. Treasury at the point of sale of a new vehicle through the end of 2009. It would provide vouchers for 15 million new vehicles.

Every one million in new vehicle sales has the following impact on the economy:
• Creates 60,000 jobs (10,000 at vehicle assembly plants; 50,000 at suppliers, auto dealers, and other businesses).
• Provides $750 million in tax revenue to the federal government.
• Provides $1.4 billion in sales tax revenue to states.
• Saves federal government $1.8 billion in unemployment payments, COBRA health care subsidies and food stamps.

My bill would give Americans the incentives and the confidence they need to start buying vehicles again, which will bolster automobile manufacturing and sales, put millions of Americans back to work, and restore the tax revenues our state and local governments need to continue providing services to the people.

Unfortunately, Congress and the Administration ignored my job-creating approach in favor of further government intrusion into the auto industry that has placed tens of billions of taxpayer dollars at risk. That intrusion included the forced closure of Chrysler and GM dealerships that will put 150,000 more Americans on the unemployment lines. And with another $30 billion in taxpayer-funded assistance, GM has become Government Motors as the federal government now owns 60 percent of the company.

Enough is enough. It’s time for the government to get out of the auto manufacturing business and instead support incentives that will help the U.S. auto industry right itself. We will not end the recession until we restart manufacturing and put Americans back to work.