Subsidies

Mad about oil subsidies?

Are you mad about oil subsidies?  I feel you.  I hate corporate subsides, a type of welfare that draws money from working stiffs like you and me and funnels it to corporations.  It’s rather annoying, all things considered, especially when groups in Washington fight over what kind of welfare is just, either toward people or towards companies.

However, something to keep in mind when you’re screaming that oil companies are getting $21 billion in subsidies is that they don’t even touch the green energy subsidies.

On Monday, Reason had a pretty good comparison of the two, $21 billion for Big Oil as previously stated but a whopping $60 billion for green energy.  I don’t care where you’re from, $81 billion is a lot of money, even by government standards.  Now, as I stated, I’m not in favor of subsidies for any industry, but let’s take a look at what the effects of cutting the subsidies would be.

Oil

Let’s say we cut the subsidies for Big Oil out completely.  That will teach them, right?  Wrong.  Companies will always find a way to keep their profits intact.  The petroleum industry isn’t any different.  They’ll just raise their prices accordingly.  That will raise the prices at the gas pump a like amount.  How much?  Who knows.  Many experts say it will only be a small amount, but even a 1 cent per gallon increase is still an increase.  However, most seem to be operating under the premise for a cut to oils subsidies, not elimination (which admittedly isn’t on the table).  Let’s also face it, the experts have been known to be wrong.

RomneyCare five years later

In an excellent article at Forbes, Sally Pipes explains why Mitt Romney’s health care experiment in Massachusetts has been a disaster; and why it offers a preview of things to come after passage of ObamaCare:

Earlier this month, the landmark Massachusetts health care reform law turned five years old. Democrats were quick to applaud the anniversary, as the Bay State law is the model for the federal health care reform package that passed last year.

The anniversary has proved especially inconvenient for former Massachusetts Governor and probable Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who argued forcefully for his state’s reforms. In 2006 he boldly stated, “Every uninsured citizen in Massachusetts will soon have affordable health insurance and the cost of health care will be reduced.”

Five years later, that prediction has proved false. Worse, the Massachusetts experiment offers an ominous preview of what lies ahead for the rest of the nation under ObamaCare.

When signing the bill into law, Romney claimed that it would “take about three years to get all of our citizens insured.” In 2006 the number of uninsured in Massachusetts ranged from 372,000 to 618,000. Five years later, over 100,000 remain uninsured.

So more Bay Staters do have insurance. But that doesn’t mean they’ve been able to get care.

The Massachusetts Medical Society found that 56% of physicians are not taking on new patients. Wait times for appointments are climbing. Just two years after reform took root, one clinic in Western Massachusetts had amassed a waiting list of 1,600 patients.

An interesting take on green energy

Hot Air took a look at a video from Reason TV, and wrote an outstanding piece about green energy and government subsidies.  We may disagree about whether subsidies should be used to promote green energy, but if they’re going to be used perhaps we can agree that if they don’t work, we should look at trying something else.

Hot Air also makes the following observation:

The problem of innovation isn’t entirely cut-and-dried.  Businesses invest in R&D for technologies with some hope of payoff, and most renewable energy efforts aren’t attractive to capital investors for that reason.  The research in those fields might get slowed without some government subsidies to push it along.  However, as economist Robert Michaels points out, most of the subsidies involved in green energy come on the commercial end, not in research.  Government is trying to pick winners and losers with current technology.  As the chart shows, government is picking the least efficient technology (by orders of magnitude) as winners.  They’re deliberately hiding the price on the product in order to convince people that this energy is competitive, while taxpayers pick up the rest of the bill.

In doing so, they are preventing — or at least disincentivizing — the normal innovative processes that could unlock a real revolution in green technology.  Wind and solar technology in their current form today cannot compete in the marketplace without heavy government intervention, and thanks to that intervention, wind and solar purveyors don’t have to innovate to make a profit.  As long as that situation continues, we’ll still be waiting decades to “turn the corner” on mass production of renewable energy.

The Failed Daschle Nomination and the Obama Health Care Agenda

Recent in the news has been former Senator Tom Daschle’s withdrawal of his nomination as Secretary of Health and Human Services, along with President Obama’s additional nomination of him to a newly-concocted post of “White House Health Czar” (isn’t it interesting how increasingly popular the term “czar” has become in the government lexicon as of late?). The main issue that brought Daschle’s nomination down was his failure to pay more than $128,000 in taxes from 2005 to 2007 (which he ended up doing last month in the form of back taxes with nearly $12,000 in interest). Naturally this raised once again the whole matter of double standards over such matters, one for government officials (and others in positions of power or privilege), and another for everyone else. The President seemed finally to recognize that such a double standard would not serve him well, after noticing a disturbing pattern among a few of his other nominees.

How Agriculture Subsidies Distort Food Prices

Note: This is a revision of a previous article that was entitled “Falling Prices: Why is Food Not Part of This Trend?”. The author has made the revisions to reflect the fact that crop commodities are in fact deflating, while maintaining that agriculture subsidies did in fact play a role in pushing the prices artificially high, prior to the current correction.

Obama to Roll Back Oil Subsidies?

According to Talking Points Memo, an Obama team spokesperson has reaffirmed that the administration would take on petro-interests:

A spokesperson for the Obama transition team is reaffirming the President-elect’s commitment to rolling back the subsidies that oil companies enjoy, confirming that Obama’s campaign promise on this score is still fully operative.

“Yes,” replied Obama transition team spokesperson Nick Shapiro, when we asked him whether Obama remained committed to rolling back the oil company subsidies.

A President’s Agenda for the First 100 Days

It is natural, in an age of bailouts and government intervention, to denounce the actions being taken “for our own good” by the President and Congress, and write at length about what we shouldn’t be doing. It is my view that people look entirely too much to the government in general and the President in particular to solve problems and fix things. However, with the prevelance of that mindset, I would like to submit some ideas, for a change of pace, about what positive things a new President of the United States could and should do, given how little power under the Constitution the President has to make bold changes in policy. We can call this “what I would do if I were the new President”.

Bush = Hoover 2.0, Part 3 - “Bush’s Parallels to Hoover”

But not because of the reasons you may believe

Part I - “The False Claims” can be found HERE.

Part II - “Hoover’s Socialism” can be found HERE.


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