Washington, D.C.) – Today, in recognition of the potfuls of taxpayer gold that have been squandered on subsidizing ill-advised green energy programs, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) its March 2012 Porker of the Month.
Sen. Stabenow was chosen for submitting amendment #1812 to S. 1813, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, which would have extended federal subsidies for green energy, including alternative fueling stations, biofuels, refined coal, energy-efficient appliances, and wind power, among others. Many of the initiatives singled out for continued subsidies in Sen. Stabenow’s amendment, such as the Treasury Department’s 1603 grants, the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit, and the tax credit for Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling, were expanded or begun as part of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (stimulus).
Fortunately, the amendment was defeated on March 13 when it garnered just 49 votes in its favor, 11 short of the 60 it required. Taxpayers need look no further than Advanced Ethanol Council Executive Director Brooke Coleman’s reaction to the amendment’s failure to know that it was a win for their wallets; he claimed that lawmakers “missed an opportunity” by failing to extend the Cellulosic Biofuels Producer Tax Credit, which eases the way for America’s expensive ethanol program.
Sen. Stabenow’s amendment exemplifies the public policy fallacy gripping the Obama administration and many lawmakers, which holds that the key to unlocking a green energy surge is simply more taxpayer money. But as Washington Post columnist Charles Lane put it in his March 5, 2012 column, “Advocates insist that the government should help them crank up mass production of electric vehicles. Once economies of scale kick in, they argue, electric vehicles can compete…Four decades after the 1973 oil crisis, this logic is wearing thin. Any company that figured out how to build a practical mass-market electric car would be swimming in cash. That no one has done so suggests we are bumping up against the limits of nature, not just politics or economics.”
“When the stimulus originally passed, one of the biggest concerns, beyond its exorbitant initial cost, was that supposedly temporary programs would become permanent and waste taxpayer dollars in perpetuity,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “Sen. Stabenow has demonstrated that those fears were not unfounded. The past six months have been marred by examples of the futility of picking winners in energy markets, which already have access to private capital. Failures at Solyndra, Ener1, Beacon, Tesla, Amonix, Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt, SunPower, and others make it obvious that the government has about as much chance of stumbling across a four-leaf clover as it does of being successful as a venture capitalist,” added Schatz. “Not only should these programs not be extended, they should be terminated.”
For attempting to compound the federal government’s costly foray into green energy investment, and doing her best to bury taxpayer greenbacks at the end of the rainbow, Senator Debbie Stabenow is CAGW’s March 2012 Porker of the Month.
CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.