NAT GAS Act: Washington’s Big-Business Pork

Heritage Action’s CEO, Michael A. Needham, recently penned an article for Conservative NC which details just how big business distorts markets in order to benefit themselves. The most recent example comes in the form of the NAT GAS Act, which would subsidize all aspects of the natural gas vehicle industry:

“Washington has a long history of failure when it comes to subsidizing the next great technology.  The Carter administration got it wrong with their Synfuel program.  The Bush administration got it wrong with ethanol.  Subsidy-seeking politicians, their staffs and well-heeled lobbyists cannot predict the future; they are just seeking short-term profits at the expense of taxpayers.

“In Washington, it comes down to this: the winners have powerful lobbyists and the losers do not.  But providing special benefits for one industry simply misallocates resources and private sector investment from potentially more viable economic alternatives.  Nearly two-thirds of Americans are extremely or very concerned this could lead to ‘crony capitalism and corruption.’  Think now-bankrupt Solyndra!

“How would the NAT GAS Act distort our economy?

“It would give auto manufacturers a $4,000 tax credit for every natural gas vehicle (NGV) produced; businesses would receive $100,000 for every commercial fueling station installed; and, consumers would receive a $7,500 tax credit for the purchase of a light-duty car and up to $64,000 for a heavy-duty truck.  The fuel itself, which is already half the price of gasoline, would also be subsidized. In Raleigh, for example, compressed natural gas is selling for the equivalent of about $1.70 per gallon of gasoline, while regular gasoline is hovering around $3.23 per gallon.

“The various subsidies are designed to “jump-start” the industry, which is already moving forward.  Of course, once those subsidies go into place, they are nearly impossible to repeal.  More importantly, subsidies do not “jump-start” industries; rather, it makes them dependent on taxpayer support.  Amusingly, a prominent supporter of the legislation recently acknowledged subsidies were not necessary.  He proclaimed the conversion of transportation fuels to natural gas is ‘going to happen, with or without legislation.’

“This is the problem with the Washington Establishment.  They cozy up to big, powerful interests and handout benefits based on connections and spin, as opposed to the Constitution and sound policy.  North Carolinians should be weary of this corrupt nexus between the Washington Establishment and Big Business.  Many members of their congressional delegation are venturing into market manipulation with a very unsavory cast of politicians and interest groups.”

Read the full article here.

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