The U.S. travel technology firm Sabre may not ring an immediate bell, and perhaps you’ve not yet heard…
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On Sabre/Farelogix Merger, DOJ Mustn’t Undertake a Misguided Antitrust Boondoggle

The U.S. travel technology firm Sabre may not ring an immediate bell, and perhaps you’ve not yet heard of its proposed acquisition of Farelogix, but it looms as one of the most important antitrust cases to approach trial since AT&T/Time-Warner. The transaction’s most significant aspect is the way in which it offers a perfect illustration of overzealous bureaucratic antitrust enforcement, and the way that can delay and also punish American consumers. Specifically, the transaction enhances rather than inhibits market competition, and will benefit both travelers and the travel industry by accelerating innovation.  That’s in part because Sabre and Farelogix aren’t head-to-head market competitors, but rather complementary businesses.  While Sabre serves customers throughout the…[more]

January 13, 2020 • 03:53 pm

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Eliminate, Don’t Expand, the Wasteful Federal Electric Vehicle Subsidy Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, October 03 2019
Americans should be free to purchase EVs if they so choose in an open marketplace. But they shouldn’t be forced to subsidize them, particularly on behalf of wealthy Americans concentrated in California, simply because the federal government wants to pick winners and losers and reward favored special interests.

If you’re like most Americans, you think of electric vehicles (EVs) as a novelty that may or may not succeed in the marketplace of products, and an option that people should be perfectly free to purchase with their own dollars if they so choose. 

But like most Americans, chances are that you also oppose taxpayer subsidies for EVs and believe that the federal government has no business manipulating the market or propping up other people’s EV purchases. 

That’s the unequivocal public consensus, according to a recent opinion survey by the American Energy Alliance (AEA): 

Voters don’t think they should pay for other people’s car purchases.  In every state, overwhelming majorities (typically three-quarters of respondents) said that while electric cars might be a good choice for some, those purchases should not be paid for by other consumers.  Voters’ sentiments about paying for others’ electric vehicles are especially sharp when they learn that those who purchase electric vehicles are, for the most part, wealthy and/or from California.  There is almost no willingness to pay for electric vehicle car purchases.  When asked how much individuals would be willing to pay each year to support the purchase of electric vehicles by other consumers, the most popular answer in each state (usually more than two-thirds of respondents) was “nothing.” 

Moreover, the survey found that “few voters (usually less than 1/5) trust the federal government to make decisions about what kinds of cars should be subsidized or mandated.” 

Despite that overwhelming public opposition to federal government meddling and taxpayer subsidies, some in Congress stubbornly persist in not only working to preserve the EVs cronyist subsidy system, but hope to expand it. 

As the end of the year approaches and lawmakers negotiate tax legislation, some propose an array of “green” tax extensions and a tripling of the number of EVs per manufacturer that will be eligible for taxpayer subsidies.  Making matters worse, even some otherwise sober lawmakers who oppose EV subsidies might be tempted to capitulate in order to obtain other unrelated priorities they seek. 

By way of historical context, the EV subsidy boondoggle was originally justified as a temporary, limited incentive to kickstart the fledgling EV industry.  In 2008, before the American fracking revolution subsequently eased our concerns about overreliance on foreign oil, the Pelosi-Schumer Congress created $7,500 tax credit for purchasers of EVs.  Senator Orin Hatch (R – Utah) at the time emphasized the subsidy’s limited scope and duration: 

I want to emphasize that, like the tax credits available under current law for hybrid electric vehicles, the tax incentives in the Freedom Act are temporary.  They are needed in order to help get these products over the initial stage of production, when they are quite a bit more expensive than older technology vehicles, to the mass production stage, where economies of scale will drive costs down, and the credits will no longer be necessary. 

Well, over a decade later we’re well past the “initial stage of production,” yet they remain “more expensive” and continue to receive taxpayer subsidies. 

The Obama Administration expanded the credit program to cover the first 200,000 EVs from each manufacturer producing them, at a cumulative cost of $2 billion by 2017. 

The EV subsidy’s defects, however, extend far beyond just its accumulating cost. 

Outrageously, approximately 80% of federal EV subsidies go to households with incomes over $100,000, who don’t need their auto purchases subsidized by working-class taxpayers.  Americans outside of California will also be offended to learn that approximately half of EV sales occur in California, which constitutes only 12% of the U.S. auto market. 

Conspicuously, EVs don’t even offer the environmental benefits that proponents seem to assume.  That’s because they must recharge their batteries using the U.S. electric grid, which provides power from energy sources that often produce more pollutants than today’s more efficient internal-combustion engines. 

Despite the EV subsidy program’s overwhelming unpopularity, cost, unfairness and logical indefensibility, however, some in Congress aim to expand it in legislative negotiations.  Specifically, they want to triple the current cap of 200,000 cars per automaker to 600,000. 

Responsible lawmakers owe it to American taxpayers to oppose that proposal, and instead work to eliminate the outdated, ineffective and wasteful subsidy program. 

Americans should be free to purchase EVs if they so choose in an open marketplace.  But they shouldn’t be forced to subsidize them, particularly on behalf of wealthy Americans concentrated in California, simply because the federal government wants to pick winners and losers and reward favored special interests. 

The EV taxpayer subsidy boondoggle must be eliminated, not expanded. 

Question of the Week   
How many States have adopted “red flag” laws to temporarily limit the possession of firearms?
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Quote of the Day   
 
"Near the end of his inflammatory opening remarks Tuesday, Sen. Chuck Schumer tried his best to scale the rhetorical heights. He declared the moment 'deep and solemn' and said, 'The eyes of the Founding Fathers are upon us.'If they're watching, they're probably rolling over in their graves. Day One of the Trump impeachment trial couldn't possibly be what they had in mind.Yes, it was that bad, as history…[more]
 
 
—Michael Goodwin, New York Post
— Michael Goodwin, New York Post
 
Liberty Poll   

Should witnesses be called for the Senate impeachment trial, which could take weeks or even months, or be restricted to the record and evidence already produced by the House?