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Heritage Foundation Almost, but Not Quite, Ideologically Consistent on Energy Subsidies

1 min. read

The Heritage Foundation is out with a four-point argument about why taxpayer-funded energy subsidies are a bad idea. According to Heritage, subsidies: a) “destroy jobs elsewhere;” b) “promote crony capitalism;” c) “create industry dependence on government;” and d) “waste taxpayer dollars.”

Well, at least the fossil-fuel-funded folks at Heritage are approaching consistency on this issue. They could actually get there if they were willing to spend a bit of time talking about the massive, wasteful and highly unpopular government welfare checks channeled by friendly politicians to the companies that need them the least - the fossil fuel industry - than just focusing their criticisms on support for the burgeoning clean energy industry.

Heritage could, for instance, start with this outrageous government loan to the coal industry - $90 million of our tax money, when private institutions could have done the same job. If you’re a principled, small-government advocate, wouldn’t you agree with that position?

Also note that the legislation the Heritage Foundation touts, by Representative Mike Pompeo (R–KS) and Senator Jim DeMint (R–SC), is far from evenhanded, as Elliott Negin of the Union for Concerned Scientists explains ("the DeMint-Pompeo bill would severely hamper wind and solar but leave untouched a number of oil, gas and coal subsidies").

Actually, this entire Heritage Foundation article would make a lot more sense, possibly even achieve something approaching intellectual honesty, if it simply added the words “fossil fuel” before the word “subsidies” in each of its four main points (e.g., “Fossil fuel subsidies destroy jobs elsewhere”).

Bottom line: the Heritage Foundation folks pretend to take a principled, conservative case against government subsidies for the energy industry as a whole, but in fact their principles only appear to apply to one subsegment of the energy industry – the one that doesn’t fund them.