Biofuels lobbyists have been successful in securing federal funding and regulatory support. As an industry that thrives on federal subsidies, any threat to its privileged status is a cause for alarm. This week Energy Secretary Stephen Chu set off such alarm when he told a group of alternative energy developers that “if it were up to me, I would put every cent into electric cars.”
When the economy was growing, state and local governments spent money as if the good times would never end. But in the face of stagnant revenues, state and local governments are now spending record amounts of taxpayer money lobbying the federal government for a larger piece of Uncle Sam’s deficit-fueled budget.
The Federal Aviation Administration is trying to implement a $35 billion overhaul of the nation’s air traffic control system that would replace old-fashioned radar technology with modern satellite-based GPS navigation. But according to the Associated Press:
With the government running huge deficits and average family incomes stagnating in the recession, it is unseemly that federal worker pay continues to soar. I’ve called for an immediate freeze to federal worker pay, at least until the economy recovers and private worker pay starts catching up.
Regulation and taxes are like two blades on a pair of scissors cutting holes in the family budget. With dairy products, a federal regulatory cartel acts to keep the prices of milk, cheese, and related products artificially high.
U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke stopped by the economically beleaguered state of Michigan to announce the opening of a new “Commerce Connect” office in the city of Plymouth. According to the Detroit Free Press, the office “will act as a one-stop shop for businesses to access all the federal government has to offer, from research and development tools, to grants, to licensing assistance.”
It didn’t take a Ph.D. in economics to recognize that the federal “Cash for Clunkers” program would put upward pressure on used-car prices. In nominating it “the dumbest program ever” back in August, Chris Edwards noted that “low-income families, who tend to buy used cars, were harmed because the clunkers program will push up used car prices.”
In the face of a projected $7 billion loss this year, Congress recently passed legislation allowing the U.S. Postal Service to forgo $4 billion in required payments to pre-fund retiree health benefits. This temporary band-aid did nothing to address the Postal Service’s struggling business model, which is weighed-down by excessive labor costs.
In 1798, President John Adams signed a law that required the owners of American ships to withhold 20 cents a month for each crewman’s pay and to forward the money to customs offices in various ports. Customs officers were required to forward the money to the secretary of the Treasury, who would use the money to pay the hospital bills of ailing sailors. The funding also supported a network of marine hospitals.