In last week's Liberty Update, we highlighted the Heritage Foundation's 2022 Index of Economic Freedom…
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Image of the Day: More Economic Freedom = Higher Standard of Living

In last week's Liberty Update, we highlighted the Heritage Foundation's 2022 Index of Economic Freedom, which shows that Joe Biden has dragged the U.S. down to 22nd, our lowest rank ever (we placed 4th in the first Index in 1995, and climbed back up from 18th to 12th under President Trump).  As we noted, among the Index's invaluable metrics is how it demonstrates the objective correlation between more economic freedom and higher citizen standards of living, which this graphic illustrates:

 …[more]

May 19, 2022 • 12:53 PM

Liberty Update

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While U.S. Suffers Crippling Infrastructure Cyberattack, Biden Pushes Electric Vehicle Subsidies Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, May 13 2021
So EV subsidies divert needed resources from more important infrastructure security needs, they overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy, they aren’t succeeding in making EVs preferable to consumers and they don’t offer the environmental benefits that advocates assume.

Here’s a crazy thought.  

If a consumer product is a good one, government needn’t subsidize it for it to gain popularity, right?  

Government certainly shouldn’t have to mandate its purchase or gradually eliminate competing products from the marketplace, thereby removing any consumer choice in the matter.  

Yet that’s precisely the wasteful, indefensible state of affairs when it comes to electric vehicles (EVs) and the automobile market.  

Whatever one’s opinion of EVs, positive or negative, what’s beyond dispute is that they require enormous government subsidies and mandates to remain viable.  Some in government insist on forcing the EV business model upon a persistently disobedient American public.  Recent events only amplify the foolishness of that ongoing boondoggle.  

With inflation beginning to rear its ugly head, fueled in part by the wasteful federal spending blowouts, the Biden Administration presses forward with another multitrillion-dollar spending proposal, this one $3 trillion in the name of “infrastructure.”  And the single biggest transportation line item in the proposal?  That would be $174 billion toward the EV industry.  In comparison, only $110 billion goes to traditional infrastructure like roads and bridges, while railroads and public transportation only receive $80 billion apiece.  

Meanwhile, this week witnessed gas lines and shortages across wide swaths of the nation following a cyberattack on the nation’s largest fuel pipeline, the 5,500-mile Colonial Pipeline from Texas to New Jersey that transports approximately 45% of the east coast’s fuel consumption.  

That’s precisely the sort of infrastructure that actually could benefit from federal support.  That could assist in fortifying the technological elements on which fuel lines and other vital infrastructure rely to operate, especially as sophisticated cyberattacks and ransom hacking become increasingly common against U.S. businesses and federal, state and local governments.  

Instead, the Biden “infrastructure” blowout casts its focus toward 500,000 new EV charging stations, despite the lack of need or demand.  In contrast, the internal combustion automobile of a century ago didn’t need massive taxpayer subsidies to succeed with American consumers.  

The fact that the EV-industrial complex diverts critical resources from far more pressing infrastructure security needs, however, is merely one of its disqualifying defects.  

Perhaps most outrageously, EV subsidies constitute welfare for the wealthy, as the Pacific Research Institute found:  

There are also distributional impacts from these EV subsidies. IRS Statistics of Income data illustrate that, for the 2014 tax year, 78.7 percent ($207.1 million) of the federal consumer tax credits were received by households with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $100,000 or above. A further 20.5 percent of the tax credits ($54.1 million) were received by households with an AGI between $50,000 and $100,000. Therefore, over 99 percent of the total tax credits went to households with an AGI above $50,000. Further, the tax credit data indicate that the manufacturing subsidies, which also benefit the consumers of EVs, primarily benefit households who are in the top-half of income-earners.  

Weren’t leftists supposed to be against income inequality and handouts to the rich?  

Then there’s the problem that generous federal subsidies just aren’t persuading American consumers to purchase EVs.  Over ten years ago, Congress passed legislation offering $7,500 tax credits to EV buyers.  Taxpayers were assured that subsidies would be temporary, “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.”  

That was in 2007.  Fourteen years later, the subsidies still haven’t become unnecessary.  In fact, as part of the Biden spending scheme that credit may be increased to $10,000.  

Moreover, EVs aren’t the ecological advancement that supporters complacently believe.  Although EVs don’t emit carbon at the point of propulsion like internal combustion automobiles, they draw their power from our electric grid, which generates power from energy sources that often produce more pollution than modern gas-powered engines.  Additionally, their batteries and other components require extensive mining and transport of rare earth materials.  In pro-EV Germany, the IFO Institute found that EVs actually have a larger “carbon footprint” than internal-combustion counterparts.  

So EV subsidies divert needed resources from more important infrastructure security needs, they overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy, they aren’t succeeding in making EVs preferable to consumers and they don’t offer the environmental benefits that advocates assume.  

Whatever EVs’ merits and novelty, the simple fact is that government shouldn’t be engaging in crony capitalism, tipping the scales in favor of one consumer product over another.  And it certainly shouldn’t be doing it with taxpayer dollars.  

Quiz Question   
How many days does it take the average U.S. household to consume as much electrical power as one single bitcoin transaction?
More Questions
Notable Quote   
 
"Lawmakers continued to raise concerns about the Internal Revenue Service at a Congressional hearing this week as the agency deals with billions in misspent dollars, hefty processing backlogs, and complaints over poor customer service.Lawmakers lobbed questions at the tax-collecting agency during the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee hearing.'The program has an annual improper payment rate…[more]
 
 
—Casey Harper, The Center Square
— Casey Harper, The Center Square
 
Liberty Poll   

Should any U.S. government agency have a function called the "Disinformation Governance Board" (See Homeland Security, Department of)?