I'd Watch This Movie

[Amazon Link]
(paid link)
Perhaps John Cusack could star in a movie based on this Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. column: Biden and the Media Are Electric-Vehicle Grifters.

When I pestered a senior Biden climate official a few months ago about the counterintuitive argument that green handouts won’t reduce fossil-fuel consumption, he surprised me by finishing my sentence. The only real solution is for governments “to put a price on carbon,” he said, and speculated Democrats and Republicans might break the ice with a carbon-related import tax.

The point being, economic sanity exists everywhere except in the policies of the Biden administration and media coverage of them.

Unbidden in a recent Journal podcast, the Harvard economist Ken Rogoff spontaneously offered a similar assessment of the “craziness” of current policy in contrast with the only “sane thing that’s going to work.” Tyler Cowen, the author and economist, voiced the same critique in a podcast with green investor Jeremy Grantham: “We make green energy much cheaper, but dirty energy becomes cheaper” and “the world just uses much more energy.”

Jenkins runs the numbers, concluding that the Biden decree would if it worked as planned eliminate 0.18% of global emissions.

Briefly noted:

  • Not just a grift, but also: Biden’s New Emissions Standards Are Noxious. Luther Ray Abel:

    Before all else, let’s consider the legality. I think the president acts beyond his powers when deputizing an executive agency to advance such a broad agenda without congressional oversight. These regulations would substantively alter the automotive sector beyond simply nudging automakers to increase efficiency — and as such, the law leaves it up to state attorneys general such as West Virginia’s Patrick Morrisey to fight against them. That said, Congress showed itself a willing accomplice in 2022, passing the Inflation Reduction Act with its host of climate directives and related funding.

    With the legality of the EPA’s guidance unknown for now, the projections for electric-vehicle (EV) adoption with and without increased regulations help drive home Americans’ suspicion regarding the widespread adoption of what is considered a niche technology. Without standards beyond the already stringent emissions standards set to kick in in 2026, the EPA reckons that only 39 percent of new car sales would be EVs in 2032. With the new 2032 standards, that number would grow to 67 percent. In other words, Americans are not expected to buy new electric cars unless the other options are removed while the feds dangle taxpayer money in their faces. The carrot is the IRS’s $7,500 tax credit for buying a new EV, but only nominally American EVs; the stick is the EPA’s playing Calvinball and drubbing manufacturers with penalties while further tightening the rules every time Toyota or General Motors get within hailing distance of the emissions goals.

    What’s especially grating about this is how buried the standards are. From the New York Times to Car and Driver, the coverage of these standards opts to repeat the administration’s lines about how they will increase the widespread adoption of electric vehicles while eliding why that may be the case — namely, that they will make it nigh-impossible to build and purchase a vehicle with an ICE. Those that will be sold are going to be luxury models with fat profit margins and low production numbers offset by the peasantry tooling around in the EV equivalent of the miserable Chevrolet Cruze — a low-cost junk car willed into existence so that GM could balance out its emissions checkbook. On page 39 of the EPA’s new emissions guidelines, after pages of EV salesmanship that can be summarized by Remy’s immortal parody of Elizabeth Warren’s line “People will die!”, the proposal’s authors finally reveal their standards for light-duty vehicles (i.e., the cars and trucks most Americans drive).

    I'm pretty sure I've embedded that Remy parody before, but here you go again:

  • Lawrence W. Reed has some economic advice: Don’t Call Scandinavian Countries ‘Socialist’.

    One of the great delusions of our day is that Scandinavian countries are “socialist” and so America should be socialist too. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and others of the ultra-Left repeatedly claim that Norway, Sweden and Denmark (sometimes they include Finland and Iceland too) are prosperous because they are socialist.

    Reed notes that the rankings provided by the latest edition of the Index of Economic Freedom have Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway (in positions #9, #10, #11, and #12 respectively) out freedom-ing the US of A, which has dropped to #25.

    Of course, those cold countries countries tax the bejeezus out of their citizenry, but…

  • It really makes you wonder whether taxes are the mark of a civilized society. Steven Greenhut assures us, however, that Taxes Are Not the Mark of Civilized Society.

    There's obviously some truth in that message. We need to pay for the infrastructure, schools, police patrols, parks, and other public services that support a well-functioning society. Yet there's nothing particularly civilized about the way our governments spend the money we provide—or the money our great-grandkids will presumably pay if the feds make good on nearly $32 trillion in federal debt.

    It's mind-boggling to think about how little we actually get for all that cash, especially here in California where the state government measures success by how much money they allocate for different programs rather than by how effectively those programs fulfill their stated goals. The governor always touts bold new "investments," yet would anyone argue that the funded programs alleviate any of the state's many problems and crises?

    I should point out Cato's Freedom in the 50 States 2021, which has New Hampshire in the top spot, California at #48. (But, hey, it beat the heck out of Hawaii and New York.)

Last Modified 2024-01-13 12:59 PM EDT