The Shaheen-Portman Energy Bill Isn’t a “Win, Win, Win,” It’s a Loss
We recently announced our key vote (here) against the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013 (S. 761) introduced by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) 2% and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) 28%. Thursday during debate on the Senate floor, these two senators made remarks in favor of their legislation.
Sen. Portman said, “this is not about ‘Washington knows best.”
We beg to differ with the Senators. In our key vote we explained:
Like most government-initiated efficiency programs, this one is fatally flawed because it is based on the idea that businesses and families will act irrationally unless the government intervenes. This inappropriate intervention comes in the form of voluntary federal mandates and taxpayer funded subsidies. As Heritage notes, only the free-market has been proven to decrease costs and increase efficiency in energy production.
Sen. Portman stressed the idea that they drafted the legislation in such a way as to contain no mandates. But, as is the case with many pieces of legislation there’s a catch, as we’ve noted: though the mandates are voluntary, the Secretary of Energy would be able to dangle carrots by providing federal funding to state governments to get them to adopt certain building codes.
His colleague Sen. Shaheen called the bill a “win, win, win.” Not quite:
This federal government intervention is unnecessary for a number of reasons. Businesses already know how to save money, so they don’t need the government to force taxpayer funded voluntary mandates and regulations upon them. Government attempts to drive energy efficiency take a paternalistic approach and ignore consumer preferences. Families and businesses should be able to choose how to spend their money as they see fit, not be prodded by the federal government with taxpayer-funded handouts.