Both the so-called CLEAN Future Act and the Biden-Harris Administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure package, if enacted, will impose upon America substantially more expensive and less reliable energy, and it will reduce job growth and economic expansion. This will be particularly harmful to the working poor who can least afford these burdens.
We all want a clean future. We all want clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and a clean environment. We also want our nation’s highways, bridges, airports and transportation infrastructure to be in good working order. But the “CLEAN Future Act” and the Administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure package do very little to ensure a clean environment, and precious little to build and maintain the nation’s highways, bridges, and airports.
Just like with the recently passed $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus, less than 10% of these plans actually do what they say they will do. The bills are largely an excuse to pack the proposals with a grab bag of pork, waste, and extreme regulation that will do far more harm than any good they could possibly do.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee put huge subsidies for Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers into its “CLEAN Future Act.” The Ways and Means Committee is devising new tax credits for EV chargers. And in the Senate, a bill would increase EV tax credits by almost 700% at up to $200,000 per unit.
One could argue that the intensions are good, but arguing that the impact will be good is very difficult. We could spend trillions of dollars to pursue good intentions, but not actually do much to encourage a clean environment or keep energy costs reasonable for the working poor. The marketplace will do a far better job of meeting our future needs and nimbly making adjustments to respond to changing needs.
For example, putting hundreds of billions into charging stations may be a waste of money. There are companies developing technology that would simply swap out an exhausted battery and swap it with a freshly charged one. This could be done in minutes. They would then charge your battery for another swap. I’m not endorsing this technology. I’m simply pointing out that we don’t yet know if consumers want EVs, and if they do, if they want to charge them for an hour or more or simply swap out the battery in an instant and continue driving, or maybe they want some mix of both. The marketplace will figure this out. But Government mandates will impose rigid mandates and lack the ability to balance consumer’s needs.
The truth is government’s push to outlaw the internal combustion engine is typical of its myopic approach. There are many ways to insure a clean environment. Our cleaner burning fuels and cleaner operating engines have done more to give America cleaner air than EVs have done for the environment.
Numerous studies show that EVs have their own massive negative environmental impact. The batteries EVs use are made from rare earth elements that must be mined and the manufacture of batteries produce acid waste and radioactive residues. Plus, an immense amount of energy is required to refine and produce batteries. Another problem is what to do with the batteries once they’ve reached their life cycle end. They are not environmentally friendly and won’t age well in landfills.
So rather than pumping billions or even trillions of America’s hard-earned dollars into programs designed to force consumers into EVs, why not allow the natural maturation of technology to help us make wise choices in the future? Perhaps EVs are the wave of the future. Perhaps not. Wouldn’t it be good to know the answer to that question before we force Americans to devote trillions of dollars into a technology that has not yet proven itself?
Often we are told that we must act now because if we wait, it will be too late. This is a conman’s pressure tactic. Our air quality is improving and has been for a long time. Additionally, America is one of the leading nations in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. It is also worth noting that carbon dioxide isn’t a pollutant. Humans exhale carbon dioxide and plants require it to grow and photosynthesize. So we ought not make carbon dioxide an environmental villain. It is required for life here on Earth.
Before every committee in Congress and the Administration race to see who can throw the largest sums of taxpayer money at EVs and charging stations, let’s allow the technology to mature. Let’s see if consumers want EVs. Let’s see if EVs meet our transportation needs. If they do, the marketplace can best figure out the way to charge or refuel an EV. Government’s attempt to make these decisions before we know the answer to important questions insures that we will waste trillions of dollars promoting things that won’t pan out. And that is money that cannot be invested in real solutions, real jobs or real infrastructure needs. So we ought not be forced to rush when the conman tells us that time is running out. It isn’t.
Throughout the 2020 presidential campaign season, then-candidate Biden continually promised that he would not raise taxes on households making less than $400,000 per year. It was a promise echoed again by the White House just over a month ago, but the so-called American Jobs infrastructure plan rolled out by the administration pulls a bait-and-switch on the American people, particularly the working poor and ethnically diverse communities.
A key component of the Biden plan is the push for a nationwide transition to electric vehicles, which takes up some $174 billion in subsidies from the package, but one of the largest problems with the proposal is its disregard for the negative downwind effects it would have on those at the lower rungs of the economic ladder. As of 2019, the average cost of an electric vehicle was $55,600, far greater than the cost of other vehicles more affordable for lower income families. In fact, another recent study showed that the average income of electric car owners is at least $100,000 per year, well over even the middle-income line. While the Biden plan throws truckloads of money at other angles of the electric vehicle issue, it does nothing to address the fact that lower income households simply cannot afford electric vehicles. To make matters worse, electric vehicles only account for 2 percent of vehicle sales in the U.S., even though they have been an option for vehicle purchasers for a significant period of time. The Biden plan is catering to a niche segment of an industry, in a show of political nepotism for a pet campaign promise while slapping the American worker in the face in the process.
An aggressive plan like Biden’s calls for significant bumps in energy and electric grids. Even currently, with a transportation budget of $1.5 billion, electric companies have almost $1 billion more in requests for expansion, and this is the case notwithstanding the drastic increase in energy grids that the Biden plan would implement. More electric grids cost the utilities more to operate, meaning large spikes in utility costs.
California provides an example of this type of policy gone wrong, as it invests the most of any state into electric vehicle infrastructure yet has increasing issues with blackouts, high utility costs, and general cost-of-living increases. For instance, as of 2010, SDG&E, the major energy provider in the San Diego and southern California region, has seen consistent rate increases. Conversely, utility disconnections due to overdue bills and payments has also steadily climbed within this time period, suggesting that ratepayers are finding it more difficult to keep up with rising costs. Even more specifically, those burdened with these rate hikes are disproportionately minority groups in disadvantaged communities, who shoulder these costs for the benefit of disproportionately affluent areas that can afford EV’s.
Additionally, American seniors are keenly affected by these rate hikes. Per an AARP testimony in 2019 in Arizona, “twenty percent of Arizonans 65 and older rely on Social Security as their sole income source. Fifty percent get a substantial portion of their income from Social Security…[which] is about $17,500/year…Older Arizonans have much higher medical costs so many already [are forced] to choose today between, food, rent, medical care and very limited transportation…they cannot afford higher electric utility rates much less for electric vehicles.” Yet again, ratepayers are being conscripted to subsidize a service that they do not use, at the cost of their own well-being.
These specific examples are simply the tip of the iceberg. If the Biden E.V. plan is implemented, the consequences would be far more drastic than even the current rate hikes. If less fortunate groups are not benefiting from electric vehicles, why should they be forced to pay for them? Spiked electric utilities affect the poor and vulnerable more negatively than any other economic demographic. Utilities are a difficult commodity to live without, particularly within a family, and they should not be burdened with rate hikes for services they do not use. Simply put, lower income households are not driving electric vehicles, and the Biden plan not only gives them no incentive or ability to do so but punishes them for costs incurred by wealthier households, all while claiming victory because rate hikes caused by government action aren’t technically a tax. Tax or not, the cost to the American people is the same. The ploy is a cruel bait-and-switch tactic that misleads the American people and should raise red flags about the Biden administration’s friendliness to the American worker.
Any extension, expansion or enlargement of the electric vehicle tax credit is a profoundly bad idea and essentially robs the taxpayers to pad the pockets of the wealthy who can afford the best lobbyists money can buy.
When the original legislation giving tax credits and subsidies for electrical vehicles passed more than a decade ago, its sponsors promised that it would be temporary and were only designed to help new technologies gain a foothold in the marketplace. Now more than a dozen years later, some irresponsible legislators are ready to move away from temporary, limited subsidies and are headed towards a permanent and almost unlimited subsidies.
This is both bad policy, and dangerous. Government’s power to tax should not be used to transfer wealth to those who can afford the best lobbyists. Single parents working two jobs to make ends meet should not be forced to take an extra shift so that they can support this sort of wasteful spending. If rich car purchasers want to buy new expensive electric sports cars, they should be free to do so. But the idea that they should be able to reach into the wallet of the single parent struggling to make ends meet is unconscionable!
Virtually 80 cents of every dollar spent on subsidies went to households with more than $100,000 of income. And, of course, all of the taxpayer provided cash benefits wealthy and profitable car companies — like Tesla and its billionaire founder Elon Musk. It is revealing that almost 1/2 of all the subsidies for electric vehicles go to just one state — California.
This is a wealth transfer from the working poor and middle class to the wealthy. And it is a wealth transfer from 49 states to 1 state. Before anyone votes for these wealth transfers, they must provide an explanation. Why is this good for America? Why is this good for taxpayers? I know it is good for Mr. Musk and Tesla. But why is it good for that single parent who is working so hard to provide her children with a better life?
There is no need to extend, expand or continue subsidies for electric vehicles. Sales of electric cars have been on the increase for years. The original rationale was that the temporary aide would help them get established and build economies of scale that would drive prices down. Twelve years is more than enough time.
Some argue that the subsidies are justified because electric cars are “zero emission” vehicles. But that is a lie. Electric cars are plugged into the power grid to recharge and whatever emissions were created while generating the electricity needed to recharge the car are the car’s emissions. Nationally, that won’t be anything close to zero. Moreover, recent studies indicate that full life-cycle emissions from electrical vehicles may exceed those from new internal combustion engines. So it is unlikely that electric vehicles provide the environmental benefits promised.
Since there is no longer any plausible or rational reason for the subsidies, the real reason is laid bare — car companies want more taxpayer cash and they’ve lobbied Congress hard to get it. Mr. Musk and Tesla and others who receive the benefits of this taxpayer provided subsidy would love to extend and expand it. But that isn’t a good reason to give them more taxpayer cash or to reach into a single parent’s wallet so that some rich guy can get some help to buy that very cool electric car.
Moreover, the public doesn’t support the idea of taxpayers helping people buy expensive and trendy electrical cars. By landslide proportions, 2 in 3 Americans oppose these subsidies, and with good reason.
The truth is most people would love to receive a perpetual gift of cash. There’s an old saying, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.” That’s what we have here. Paul is in favor of Paul getting millions of dollars provided by Peter. This is clearly just based on greed.
Even more important, our constitutional system cannot devolve into a system in which one group gets to vote itself cash from another group. But that’s what we have here. Nothing more. A vote to extend, expand, or enlarge this subsidy is a grotesque violation of the public trust.