This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight…
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Happy 40th to the Staggers Rail Act, Which Deregulated and Saved the U.S. Rail Industry

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight rail and saved it from looming oblivion.

At the time of passage, the U.S. economy muddled along amid ongoing malaise, and our rail industry teetered due to decades of overly bureaucratic sclerosis.  Many other domestic U.S. industries had disappeared, and our railroads faced the same fate.  But by passing the Staggers Rail Act, Congress restored a deregulatory approach that in the 1980s allowed other U.S. industries to thrive.  No longer would government determine what services railroads could offer, their rates or their routes, instead restoring greater authority to the railroads themselves based upon cost-efficiency.

Today, U.S. rail flourishes even amid the coronavirus pandemic…[more]

October 13, 2020 • 11:09 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   
Which one of the following was the first 20th century presidential candidate to call for a Presidential Debate?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"We can return to the explosive job creation, rising wages and general prosperity we had before the pandemic. We can have economic freedom and opportunity, and resist cancel culture and censorship. We can put annus horribilis, 2020, behind us and make America great again, again. We can do all this -- if we make the right choice on Nov. 3.The New York Post endorses President Donald J. Trump for re-…[more]
 
 
—The Editors, New York Post
— The Editors, New York Post
 
Liberty Poll   

Do you believe Republicans will continue to hold a majority in the U.S. Senate following the 2020 election?