An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal written by the American Council for Capital Formation’s Margo Thorning makes a good case for “pulling the plug” on subsidies for electric vehicles. Subsidies for alternative energy vehicles have been popular with both Democrat and Republican administrations, but the Obama administration has been a particularly enthusiastic supporter of industrial planning.
The other day, The Wall Street Journal provided a public service by lambasting Newt Gingrich for his absurd speech to the ethanol lobby in Des Moines last month (money line: “Obviously big urban newspapers want to kill it because it’s working, and you wonder, ‘What are their values?’”). Today, Gingrich and fellow ethanol-maven James Woolsey struck back in those very same pages. In doing so, Gingrich provided yet more evidence that he’s intellectually unfit for office.
In 2006, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm told citizens, “In five years, you’re going to be blown away by the strength and diversity of Michigan’s transformed economy.” When those words were uttered, Michigan’s unemployment rate was 6.7 percent. It’s now almost 13 percent.
An essay from economist Arnold Kling in the latest Cato Policy Report discusses what Kling calls the “knowledge-discrepancy problem.” This occurs when knowledge is dispersed but power is concentrated, and it is particularly acute in government.
The economy remains weak and the administration’s stimulus has been a bust. To counter the growing unpopularity of his economic policies, the president is traveling around the country handing out government checks to anointed industries.
The U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded $2.4 billion in stimulus money to develop and manufacture electric vehicles. The ostensible purpose of the government’s effort is to set the nation on a path toward more environmentally friendly transportation. But as the USA Today notes, electric cars might not provide the environmental benefits that proponents cite: