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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Weak Energy Proposal

This very good editorial denounces the House energy bill and, more generally, the absence of seriousness about energy policy. However, it also quotes with praise a rather unconvincing alternative proposal.

all three reports also call for major tax subsidies and loan guarantees to help Detroit develop a new generation of vehicles, as well as an aggressive bio-fuels program to develop substitutes for gasoline.

Been there, done that. IIRC the Clinton administration gave $ 300 million to US automakers to develope a prototype hybrid car (which they did). Yet all the hybrids for sale come from Japan. The US couldn't compete even by cheating. As to bio-fuels, I seem to recall a certain ethonol subsidy. The proposal can only be based on the assumption that any reform which does not add to the deficit is politically impossible. Obviously the easy way to promote conservation is to tax energy. Using some of the revenues to increase the earned income tax would cancel the regressiveness of such a tax. This is a political nonstarter because the American people are not serious about energy policy. Instead the only politically conceivable alternative to totally pointless subsidies are subsidies which have been tried which failed.

Every time I fill my tank with Euro a liter gas I am moved by admiration for the relative seriousness of Italians. I find the sensation disconcerting and I hope my fellow Americans do to.

update: I am way behind on my effort to coment on things brad doesn't have time for, but, by coincidence, I already commented on this.

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