Tag Archive | "green energy"

Senate Action Alert: Highway Bill/Energy Subsidies


Update: All 4 amendments were defeated, meaning we won 2 and lost 2. DeMint’s devolution amendment failed 30-67; Stabenow’s green energy pork amendment failed 49-49; DeMint’s repeal of all energy subsidies failed 26-72; the Menendez-Burr handouts for natural gas cars failed 51-47.  We’ll provide links to the roll calls later.  This might seem like a stalemate, but the natural gas subsidies only failed due to the 60-vote threshold.  It is also appalling that only 26 Republicans support the free-market in the energy sector.

Today is D-day for the Senate highway bill and all its amendments.  We must oppose this highway bill, which will raise taxes, engender future bailouts, and preclude much-needed devolution of transportation responsibility to the states.  Before voting on final passage of the bill tonight, the Senate will vote on several other important amendments.  We should support the two DeMint amendments and oppose the other amendments.

  • DeMint #1756: At noon today the Senate will vote on DeMint’s amendment to abolish the federal gas tax and devolve transportation spending to the states.  His amendment will only need 51 votes to pass.  This is a seminal vote for conservatives.

After 2:15, the Senate will vote on 20 amendments.  Here are the amendments related to energy subsidies that conservatives must watch carefully.  Each amendment will require 60 votes to pass.

  • DeMint #1589: This amendment would repeal all subsidies and tax credits for all energy companies.  This amendment would not only prevent the expired green energy tax credits from being reinstated, it would repeal existing ones as well.  This is one of the most important votes for conservatives.  It will separate the men from the boys.
  • Stabenow #1812: This amendment is the antithesis of DeMint’s bill.  Her amendment would extend all of the green energy credits and subsidies, including many of the new provisions enacted in the 2009 Stimulus.
  • Menendez-Burr #1782: This amendment would pass the T. Boone Pickens natural gas subsidies.  Boone Pickens’s plan would grant a $4,000 tax credit per car produced by all manufacturers of natural gas vehicles.  It would also give consumers a $7,500 tax credit for purchasing one of these vehicles.  Companies that install commercial fueling stations for these vehicles would be entitled to a $100,000 subsidy per station!

Please call your senators  and kindly request that they support the DeMint amendments and oppose the Stabenow and Menendez amendments -  if they are really sincere about ending corporate welfare.

Finally, let’s urge all senators to vote no on the underlying highway bill.  Democrats admit that they don’t even know how they will pay for the deficit in the Highway Trust Fund (they won’t).  Moreover, by helping Democrats pass the Obama/Boxer stimulus, Senate Republicans will help jam House conservatives by putting them on the hook to pass this terrible bill before the March 31 reauthorization deadline.  Unfortunately, Minority Whip Jon Kyl would only commit to not whipping up votes in support for the bill.  They won’t do the right thing by whipping up opposition to the bill and coalescing around DeMint’s devolution plan.

We’ll keep you posted on the vote tallies and take names at the end of the day.

Cross-posted from The Madison Project

Posted in Politics, RedStateComments Off

Senate Action Alert: Highway Bill/Energy Subsidies


Update: All 4 amendments were defeated, meaning we won 2 and lost 2. DeMint’s devolution amendment failed 30-67; Stabenow’s green energy pork amendment failed 49-49; DeMint’s repeal of all energy subsidies failed 26-72; the Menendez-Burr handouts for natural gas cars failed 51-47.  We’ll provide links to the roll calls later.  This might seem like a stalemate, but the natural gas subsidies only failed due to the 60-vote threshold.  It is also appalling that only 26 Republicans support the free-market in the energy sector.

Today is D-day for the Senate highway bill and all its amendments.  We must oppose this highway bill, which will raise taxes, engender future bailouts, and preclude much-needed devolution of transportation responsibility to the states.  Before voting on final passage of the bill tonight, the Senate will vote on several other important amendments.  We should support the two DeMint amendments and oppose the other amendments.

  • DeMint #1756: At noon today the Senate will vote on DeMint’s amendment to abolish the federal gas tax and devolve transportation spending to the states.  His amendment will only need 51 votes to pass.  This is a seminal vote for conservatives.

After 2:15, the Senate will vote on 20 amendments.  Here are the amendments related to energy subsidies that conservatives must watch carefully.  Each amendment will require 60 votes to pass.

  • DeMint #1589: This amendment would repeal all subsidies and tax credits for all energy companies.  This amendment would not only prevent the expired green energy tax credits from being reinstated, it would repeal existing ones as well.  This is one of the most important votes for conservatives.  It will separate the men from the boys.
  • Stabenow #1812: This amendment is the antithesis of DeMint’s bill.  Her amendment would extend all of the green energy credits and subsidies, including many of the new provisions enacted in the 2009 Stimulus.
  • Menendez-Burr #1782: This amendment would pass the T. Boone Pickens natural gas subsidies.  Boone Pickens’s plan would grant a $4,000 tax credit per car produced by all manufacturers of natural gas vehicles.  It would also give consumers a $7,500 tax credit for purchasing one of these vehicles.  Companies that install commercial fueling stations for these vehicles would be entitled to a $100,000 subsidy per station!

Please call your senators  and kindly request that they support the DeMint amendments and oppose the Stabenow and Menendez amendments -  if they are really sincere about ending corporate welfare.

Finally, let’s urge all senators to vote no on the underlying highway bill.  Democrats admit that they don’t even know how they will pay for the deficit in the Highway Trust Fund (they won’t).  Moreover, by helping Democrats pass the Obama/Boxer stimulus, Senate Republicans will help jam House conservatives by putting them on the hook to pass this terrible bill before the March 31 reauthorization deadline.  Unfortunately, Minority Whip Jon Kyl would only commit to not whipping up votes in support for the bill.  They won’t do the right thing by whipping up opposition to the bill and coalescing around DeMint’s devolution plan.

We’ll keep you posted on the vote tallies and take names at the end of the day.

Cross-posted from The Madison Project

Posted in Politics, RedStateComments Off

What might Albert Einstein think about Barack Obama’s Green Energy Obsession…


As I’ve written before, I was a very uninformed young person for the first half of my life. I remember watching a movie in the Florida State student union about how Campbell’s Soup treated workers unfairly. I quickly decided to start my own boycott. Inexplicably, they somehow survived my boycott. I once went to the Tallahassee airport to try and meet Gary Hart before his presidential campaign imploded and I also sat on the stage when Jessie Jackson gave a speech during his 1984 race for the White House. As a Political Science undergraduate one of my professors, a self described Bolshevik, explained the great successes of the Soviet Union thus: Their economic and political system had to be superior to ours, otherwise how could they produce the weapon systems we were so scared of? Made sense to me… There were probably numerous other episodes but my brain has apparently, thankfully, forgotten most of them.

The reason I mention this is because we all did things during our college years that we might want to forget. Luckily for me, none of my nonsense was captured on video. Not so lucky for our President. The video of him encouraging a gathering of Harvard students to embrace the man and the message of the late leftist Dr. Derrick Bell has been making the rounds of the Internet. Although Democrats (and most of the media) suggest this is nothing more than a student showing support for the first black tenured professor at Harvard Law School, I’m fairly sure the President would just as soon not have to deal with the issue during an election campaign.

Luckily Americans recognize that by the time most of us reach middle age, the explorations, experimentations, the ill advised exhortations have been tempered by time and real world experience. Most of course does not mean all, and while one might be inclined to offer a pass to the President for what said in college two decades ago, the same cannot be said for his equally ill advised words two weeks ago.

Of course I’m not talking about Professor Bell. I’m talking about President Obama’s “Energy Speech” delivered last month. Aside from the fact that he makes a number of factual errors, the biggest problem is that the President doesn’t seem to learn from actual experience.

The President seems determined to run the United States off an economic cliff for the sake of his belief in the scam known as “Green Energy”. Not only has he wasted billions of taxpayer’s money on boondoggles like Solyndra, the very expensive and nonworking Fisker-Karma and the rapidly shrinking National Renewable Energy Lab, but more importantly he has added, literally, $243 billion a year to what Americans pay for gasoline. (130 billion gallons a year X $1.86 – the increase in the price of gas since Obama took office) That’s more than 10 times what Americans spend on the NFL, Hollywood movies and in Starbucks annually! Of course there are other unseen costs Americans must bear as businesses have to wrap their increased energy and transportation costs into everything they offer, be it canned tomatoes or package delivery, but those are too numerous to discuss here.

The problem is not a lack of accessible energy as the President suggests, rather the problem is his laser like focus on the illusion of economically viable “renewable” or “sustainable” energy to the explicit detriment of the demonstrably viable and abundant energy sources that fueled the 20th Century. More concerning is that he maintains that focus in the face of the repeated failures of virtually every aspect of the Green Energy hoax:

From subsidized windfarms that are now being subsidized further to stop operating to General Motors halting production of its heavily subsidized Volt because no one wants to buy it to the $50 light bulb that won the Department of Energy’s prize for a “green” but affordable light bulb. Add to that the fact that Green jobs are largely an expensive mirage and you have the makings of what must be a parody of a plan to actually revive the economy. Then when you think about the closing of actual, functioning plants across the country due to increased regulation, and the quixotic support for foreign fossil fuel exploration, it seems like more than just a parody, it’s like he’s mocking the American people.

But, no, really, his intentions are good… Well, even if they were, one must remember Einstein’s definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I don’t think the President is insane, which leads me to the conclusion that he’s doing the same thing over and over again expecting the same results. He believes so strongly that he is right about his green agenda that he simply refuses to believe that things will not turn his way eventually. He’s a modern day Walter Duranty, where billions of dollars are being wasted and millions of jobs are being destroyed yet somehow he doesn’t see it, or doesn’t care. Like Duranty’s reporting of the economic miracle that was the USSR while Stalin used an iron fist to inflict bloodshed and starvation across the Ukraine and other areas of the Soviet Union, President Obama’s words increasingly ring hollow. More and more often when Americans hear “We can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices” or “We’re focused on (oil) production” or “The only real solution to helping families at the pump in the medium and long term is clean energy. That’s how we’ll save families money” they recognize they are being lied to in a way that seems almost impossible to believe coming from a President.

Perhaps the President thinks the government’s education industrial complex has eradicated the critical thinking or skepticism gene from the average American so that they will simply believe something because it’s delivered by a man with a smile and an air of confidence. As much damage as government schools do, I don’t think they’ve succeeded in that yet.

At the end of the day most Americans are willing to look past the defiant words of a college student looking to make his mark on the world. I think they are less likely however to accord the same deference for equally nonsensical words uttered by someone old enough to have learned that the world does not actually operate like the ivory towers of academia, where theories and speeches and a lack of real world consequences rule the day. As much of a headache his words at Harvard might be causing for the President, his more current words are causing a much bigger one for the American people. This will take more than aspirin to fix…

Posted in News, Politics, RedStateComments Off

The Chevy Volt Gets Unplugged


Download audio here

Download Podcast | iTunes | Podcast Feed

On today’s edition of Coffee and Markets, Brad Jackson and Ben Domenech are joined by Francis Cianfrocca to discuss the halt of Chevy Volt production, campaign proposals to encourage the manufacturing industry and why our corporate tax rate should be close to zero.

We’re brought to you as always by BigGovernment and Stephen Clouse and Associates. If you’d like to email us, you can do so at coffee[at]newledger.com. We hope you enjoy the show.

Related Links:

GM temporarily halts production of Volt
James Dyson On The Lazy Engineering Behind Fake Energy Efficiency
Economists Assail Campaign Proposals to Help Factories

Follow Brad on Twitter
Follow Ben on Twitter
Follow Francis on Twitter

Subscribe to The Transom

The hosts and guests of Coffee and Markets speak only for ourselves, not any clients or employers.

Posted in News, Politics, RedStateComments Off

The Chevy Volt Gets Unplugged


Download audio here

Download Podcast | iTunes | Podcast Feed

On today’s edition of Coffee and Markets, Brad Jackson and Ben Domenech are joined by Francis Cianfrocca to discuss the halt of Chevy Volt production, campaign proposals to encourage the manufacturing industry and why our corporate tax rate should be close to zero.

We’re brought to you as always by BigGovernment and Stephen Clouse and Associates. If you’d like to email us, you can do so at coffee[at]newledger.com. We hope you enjoy the show.

Related Links:

GM temporarily halts production of Volt
James Dyson On The Lazy Engineering Behind Fake Energy Efficiency
Economists Assail Campaign Proposals to Help Factories

Follow Brad on Twitter
Follow Ben on Twitter
Follow Francis on Twitter

Subscribe to The Transom

The hosts and guests of Coffee and Markets speak only for ourselves, not any clients or employers.

Posted in News, Politics, RedStateComments Off

Electric cars run on government subsidies


Despite historically poor performance, billions of federal funds go to prop up electric cars

Posted in Daily Caller, PoliticsComments Off

The Non-Producers


Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom were pikers compared to the Government’s “Green Energy” schemes.

Bialystock and Bloom plotted to make millions with a guaranteed Broadway flop. Against all odds, Springtime for Hitler became a runaway hit, and The Producers went to jail.

But at least The Producers produced a hit.

Green Energy produces flop after flop, and the rave reviews keep coming.

Case #1, reported by John Hayward at Human Events: Solyndra Wants to Pay Six-Figure Employees Huge Bonuses

So whose sense of job security will be bolstered by these taxpayer-financed bonuses?

The proposed bonus recipients include nine equipment engineers, six general business and finance employees and up to two information technology workers.

The biggest bonus, for $50,000, would go to a Solyndra employee whose job title is listed as a senior director with a base salary of $206,499 per year. Two senior managers stand to receive bonuses of $30,000 and $32,500. [From the Washington Times.- Ed.]

Taxpayers were stiffed for a good $300 million of the money they poured into Solyndra, because late-arriving private investors – lured with promises of “senior debt” by an Administration desperate to keep this boondoggle from becoming a political nightmare – got repaid first. Now you’re going to get stiffed again so an employee in a useless company who makes over $200,000 a year can get his $50,000 bonus. Only three of the employees set to receive these bonuses make less than six figures.

Um, in this crappy economy, a regular paycheck is sufficient to keep most of us working diligently. So what if they leave? Are we going to throw good money after bad because a total debacle might turn into a cataclysm? I’ll take my chances.

On second thought, how ’bout we fire Steven Chu, and divide his paycheck up among the remaining Solyndra stalwarts. This mess has his fingerprints all over it.

Case #2, from The New York Times: Companies Face Fines for Not Using Non-Existent Biofuel

Congress, in its brilliance, mandated quotas for the use of cellulosic ethanol, which is made from stuff like corn cobs, switchgrass and wood chips. Theoretically. What’s the use of a quota without a penalty for not meeting it?

In one fell swoop, Congress can feel good about their support of Green Energy and increase Federal revenues without raising taxes!

WASHINGTON — When the companies that supply motor fuel close the books on 2011, they will pay about $6.8 million in penalties to the Treasury because they failed to mix a special type of biofuel into their gasoline and diesel as required by law.

But there was none to be had. Outside a handful of laboratories and workshops, the ingredient, cellulosic biofuel, does not exist.

In 2012, the oil companies expect to pay even higher penalties for failing to blend in the fuel, which is made from wood chips or the inedible parts of plants like corncobs. Refiners were required to blend 6.6 million gallons into gasoline and diesel in 2011 and face a quota of 8.65 million gallons this year. …

But Cathy Milbourn, an E.P.A. spokeswoman, said that her agency still believed that the 8.65-million-gallon quota for cellulosic ethanol for 2012 was “reasonably attainable.” By setting a quota, she added, “we avoid a situation where real cellulosic biofuel production exceeds the mandated volume,” which would weaken demand.

Wait. What?!

And Mascoma, a company partly owned by General Motors [a company 30% owned by the U.S. Government - Ed.], announced last month that it would get up to $80 million from the Energy Department to help build a plant in Kinross, Mich., that is supposed to make fuel alcohol from wood waste. Valero Energy, the oil company, and the State of Michigan are also providing funds.

With apologies to Mel Brooks, even he could not have concocted such wacky schemes. These policies are straight out of Alice in Wonderland.

Cross-posted at stevemaley.com.

Posted in Politics, RedStateComments Off

The Non-Producers


Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom were pikers compared to the Government’s “Green Energy” schemes.

Bialystock and Bloom plotted to make millions with a guaranteed Broadway flop. Against all odds, Springtime for Hitler became a runaway hit, and The Producers went to jail.

But at least The Producers produced a hit.

Green Energy produces flop after flop, and the rave reviews keep coming.

Case #1, reported by John Hayward at Human Events: Solyndra Wants to Pay Six-Figure Employees Huge Bonuses

So whose sense of job security will be bolstered by these taxpayer-financed bonuses?

The proposed bonus recipients include nine equipment engineers, six general business and finance employees and up to two information technology workers.

The biggest bonus, for $50,000, would go to a Solyndra employee whose job title is listed as a senior director with a base salary of $206,499 per year. Two senior managers stand to receive bonuses of $30,000 and $32,500. [From the Washington Times.- Ed.]

Taxpayers were stiffed for a good $300 million of the money they poured into Solyndra, because late-arriving private investors – lured with promises of “senior debt” by an Administration desperate to keep this boondoggle from becoming a political nightmare – got repaid first. Now you’re going to get stiffed again so an employee in a useless company who makes over $200,000 a year can get his $50,000 bonus. Only three of the employees set to receive these bonuses make less than six figures.

Um, in this crappy economy, a regular paycheck is sufficient to keep most of us working diligently. So what if they leave? Are we going to throw good money after bad because a total debacle might turn into a cataclysm? I’ll take my chances.

On second thought, how ’bout we fire Steven Chu, and divide his paycheck up among the remaining Solyndra stalwarts. This mess has his fingerprints all over it.

Case #2, from The New York Times: Companies Face Fines for Not Using Non-Existent Biofuel

Congress, in its brilliance, mandated quotas for the use of cellulosic ethanol, which is made from stuff like corn cobs, switchgrass and wood chips. Theoretically. What’s the use of a quota without a penalty for not meeting it?

In one fell swoop, Congress can feel good about their support of Green Energy and increase Federal revenues without raising taxes!

WASHINGTON — When the companies that supply motor fuel close the books on 2011, they will pay about $6.8 million in penalties to the Treasury because they failed to mix a special type of biofuel into their gasoline and diesel as required by law.

But there was none to be had. Outside a handful of laboratories and workshops, the ingredient, cellulosic biofuel, does not exist.

In 2012, the oil companies expect to pay even higher penalties for failing to blend in the fuel, which is made from wood chips or the inedible parts of plants like corncobs. Refiners were required to blend 6.6 million gallons into gasoline and diesel in 2011 and face a quota of 8.65 million gallons this year. …

But Cathy Milbourn, an E.P.A. spokeswoman, said that her agency still believed that the 8.65-million-gallon quota for cellulosic ethanol for 2012 was “reasonably attainable.” By setting a quota, she added, “we avoid a situation where real cellulosic biofuel production exceeds the mandated volume,” which would weaken demand.

Wait. What?!

And Mascoma, a company partly owned by General Motors [a company 30% owned by the U.S. Government - Ed.], announced last month that it would get up to $80 million from the Energy Department to help build a plant in Kinross, Mich., that is supposed to make fuel alcohol from wood waste. Valero Energy, the oil company, and the State of Michigan are also providing funds.

With apologies to Mel Brooks, even he could not have concocted such wacky schemes. These policies are straight out of Alice in Wonderland.

Cross-posted at stevemaley.com.

Posted in Politics, RedStateComments Off

The Chevy Volt: Symbol of the Obama Administration


Nothing exemplifies the history and accomplishments of the Obama administration like the Chevy Volt.  The Chevy Volt was an experimental electric car that was supposed to bring our nation into the future.  The Obama administration was an experiment that would change our economy from a capitalist, free market economy, into a centralized command and control economy planned by the brightest and the best.  The Chevy Volt was the transformation of General Motors from a company that wasted resources into one that would create clean, green jobs and provide a template for the rest of America.  The Obama administration would make the United States the country that made collective socialism work and thereby provide a template for the world on smart economics.

Both are abject failures.

The Chevy Volt had been on the drawing boards at GM when they went belly up.  The Obama administration took over GM and decided to make the Volt their car of the future.  Planners had said it wasn’t ready, but that didn’t stop Obama.  Whether the design was ready or not, it was time to show the world and the rest of America what the progressive/socialist economic planners could do.

The Obama administration decided it would recreate the Clinton economic miracle by retooling the energy sector with ‘green’ energy.  Clinton’s economic miracle was an accident of economy and technology.  Computers became smaller and fast enough to do a lot of good.  Ordinary Americans got computers and businesses refitted with these increasingly faster models with better, more useful programs.  The Internet exploded and we had tons of jobs and new industries created.

The Obama administration wanted to arrange conditions so the new, green technology would affect the same economic miracle.  But, the efficiency and effectiveness of the green solar, wind, and alternative fuels weren’t nearly advanced enough.  Didn’t matter.  Obama and his team began pouring money and mandates into experiment after experiment.  Didn’t work.  These companies are going broke and so goes the rest of the country.  Solyndra, Sun Power, and a bevy of other green energy businesses are failing because the technology isn’t ready.  Just like the Volt.

The Chevy Volt isn’t safe.  After crashes, it can burst into a ball of flames.  The federal government knew this.  GM knew this.  But, regardless of safety issues, they sold them anyway.  They wanted to prove to the world and to Americans just how much smarter they were than the rest of us.  They’d hope these cars didn’t burst into flames.  They hoped nobody would notice they produced a product that was unsafe at any speed.  They even hid the fact it didn’t work, but we figured them out.

The Obama administration and the Democratic Party wanted to reform health care.  They hobbled together a series of ideas to have our health care payment system controlled by the president.  Critics argued this entire mousetrap of bizarre notions and half-baked theories would force business to drop employee insurance plans.  They were also warned that all these mandates  would make insurance costs higher and therefore raise prices for premiums.  The Obama administration put their fingers in their ears and went;  la, la, la, la, la.  We are now watching as people get booted from their insurance at work and costs escalating even more dramatically than they did before.

The Chevy Volt isn’t selling.  They have sold just a few thousand cars even with expensive government subsidies and tax breaks.  Nobody wants the car.  Most people intuitively understand it was a rushed product made for political purposes and probably not a good vehicle.  They also know just because a car runs on electricity, doesn’t mean it’s cheaper.  In fact, it increases electric bills far more than it saves money on gas.  It isn’t a product that works as it should.  It’s just a silly experiment done by sillier government fools.

Obamanomics isn’t selling either.  The bizarre mix of tax cuts here, tax increases there, a subsidy for him, a regulation for her has all made people question the concepts.  How is this supposed to save the economy?  How will paying off teacher unions increase sales?  How is subsidizing a train to nowhere making products cheaper?  Where are the jobs when it seems all we do is cut unemployment checks?    It doesn’t work on a common sense level.  It doesn’t pass the smell test.  It doesn’t even pass the ‘hold my nose, and say a prayer’ test.

Neither the Chevy Volt nor the Obama administration are good bets.  I think that is becoming increasingly obvious.

Crossposted at Looktruenorth.com

Posted in Politics, RedStateComments Off

End All Green Corporate Handouts in ‘Tax Extenders’ Bill


It’s that time of year again.  The clock is ticking toward the end of the year, and green energy special interests are discreetly lobbying for the extension of their choice handouts, credits, and grants.  We must remain vigilant against these powerful interests.

At the end of every calendar year, Congress passes a ‘tax extenders’ bill to temporarily reauthorize specific tax breaks that have not been permanently written into law.  These bills have traditionally dealt with issues like the AMT patch, the R&D business credits, and universal deductions for depreciation, as well as state and local taxes.

In recent years, tax extenders have been magnets for non-universal carve-outs for green energy.  The 2010 tax extenders bill also included extension of the Bush tax cuts, the annual Medicare ‘doc fix,’ a payroll tax cut, and an unprecedented extension of unemployment benefits.  Most of these provisions are set to expire next month, and will consume the lion’s share of the debate and media coverage.  This will give the green industry the opportunity to surreptitiously slip in their handouts as part of a grand bargain revolving around the bigger issues and legitimate, universal tax deductions.  They must be stopped.

By far, the most pernicious of the green tax extenders is the 45-cent per gallon Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC).  This credit, along with the accompanying mandate and tariff, is nothing more than a pure handout to an industry that would otherwise produce no profit.  In fact, this egregious market distortion has helped raise the cost of food and fuel, reduce gas mileage, harm automobile engines, and hurt the poor.  This credit may even be refundable for those blenders that lack any excise tax liability.  It costs $5.7 billion per year, and must be eliminated.  Additionally, there are several other credits for cellulosic ethanol producers and the biofuels industry set to expire that should be eliminated.

The other major subsidies up for extension are the 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and the 2.2 cent/per kilowatt-hour Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind, geothermal, solar, hydropower, and biomass (PTC expires next year).  Most of these industries, particularly Big Wind, make little or no profit, offer the public no investments, and pay no taxes, yet their productivity is almost completely subsidized.  The Heritage Foundation estimates that if the oil industry received a commensurate subsidy, they would get a $30 dollar check for every barrel produced.

According to CRS, green energy investors may even “carry unused tax credits forward to offset future tax liability, or, alternatively, partner with a third-party tax-equity investor capable of providing cash in exchange for tax benefits.”  Hence, these are not tax breaks; they are subsidies.  You might consider them the earned income credits for corporations.  Talk about handouts for the rich!

Another major green energy tax extender slated to expire is the “Section 1603” solar and wind grant that was enacted as part of the stimulus.  Over the years, wind and solar has turned out to be such impotent and unprofitable sources of energy that even refundable tax credits were insufficient means of “stimulating” green energy projects.  To that end, Section 1603 of the stimulus offered renewable energy project developers an immediate cash payment in order to recover up to 30% of eligible project capital cost expenditures.  This program cost about $8.6 billion in less than three years, with wind receiving 84% of the grant award value and solar electric representing 75% of entities that have received grant awards.

In addition, there are over a dozen more credits that are slated to expire, such as those for alcohol fuels, biodiesels, renewable diesels, hydrogen, plug-in electric vehicles, alternative motor vehicles, and alternative vehicle refueling infrastructure.  There are also a number of personal credits for energy efficient homes and appliances.  They all distort the markets and help politically-connected industries.

After all of the subsidies, grants, and credits are factored in, solar is being subsidized by over 1200 times more than fossil fuels, while wind enjoys over 80 times more in taxpayer cash:

Source: Institute for Energy Research

And what are the results of all these subsidies?  In 2010, wind accounted for 0.9% of our energy supply, geothermal 0.2%, and solar 0.1%.

Don’t let anyone convince you of the moral equivalence between these market-distorting, targeted handouts and universal deductions and credits such as those for depreciation and R&D.  As long as corporations are still paying the 35% marginal tax rate, all universal deductions should be maintained.  These green companies, on the other hand, can barely turn a profit, much less pay anything in taxes.

While Republicans are rightfully investigating Solyndra and other crony venture-socialist activities, their work will be rendered immaterial if they continue to extend these ‘tax breaks.’  As a means of preempting these tax extenders, Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) has introduced legislation (HR 3308) to sunset all of the aforementioned non-universal energy tax credits and grants, including those for fossil fuels and nuclear power.  The bill would use the savings from the repeal of these credits (roughly $90 billion over ten years) to lower the corporate tax rate on everyone, including green energy companies (to the extent that they pay taxes at all). HR 3308 has 12 co-sponsors, including Paul Ryan.  It should garner the support of the entire caucus.

We already know that the occupy Wall Street crowd will be missing in action during this fight against crony capitalism and venture socialism.  Hopefully, Republicans will take up the cause, as it reflects prudent policy and good politics as well.

Posted in Politics, RedStateComments Off

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