Biden’s “Build Back Better” will increase energy prices

Attempts to justify the high costs of President BidenJoe BidenBiden addresses Coloradans after wildfires: “Incredible courage and determination” Ron Johnson to run for office: On the Money reports – US reports weak job growth to end 2021 MOREThe Build Back Better plan spawned a series of creative economic arguments arguing for so-called government investments to drive a transition to renewable energy.

“The stakes here are incredibly high,” said a professor at the Princeton School of Engineering Jesse jenkins. “Passing the Build Back Better Act would lower energy costs and secure both America’s climate goals and its global competitiveness in some of the most important industries of the 21st century, wind and solar power.” to electric vehicles, clean hydrogen for carbon capture and storage. Failure would cost Americans dearly.

That statement again, in short: BBB would reduce energy costs. Failure to pass the bill “will cost Americans dearly”. Of course, this claim was quickly criticized, sparking a Twitter feed who backed down on the idea that the bill would reduce energy costs. The updated claim explained that it would only “cut costs for American households and businesses.”

But this revised claim compels the reader to believe in government largesse as an essential engine of economic well-being. Consistent with this theme, several arguments throughout the thread have encouraged government “investments” in hydrogen, carbon capture, battery storage, and electric vehicle manufacturing, as well as massive increases in already. generous federal grants for wind and solar development. The government spending argument was then crowned with the cliché threat that, without this multibillion dollar spending bill, “the United States will cede further leadership of the fast growing clean energy industries to China.” , to Europe and others ”.

When pushed on the question, Jenkins backtracked again, arguing that BBB “lower total expenses on the energy costs of households and businesses. But he acknowledged that these lower costs were only possible because “the costs are shifted (via tax credits, rebates and grants) to the federal tax base, which is much more progressive.” This clarification is little more than an equivocation or a creative accounting trick.

First, the BBB plan is not, as Jenkins claims, based on escalation. A key provision of the BBB plan would significantly increase the national and local tax deduction. This SALT deduction tends to favor the wealthy residents of the Blue States, and hits the bill on middle-class taxpayers in the low-tax Red States.

Additionally, BBB is expanding generous subsidies for wind and solar power and electric vehicles that largely benefit wealthy coastal elites. According to the University of Chicago to research, most of the $ 18 billion in federal income tax credits spent to date on the weatherization of American households, solar residential cars and electrics have been spent this way.

In short, BBB uses a shifting basis for energy policy: political patronage and transfers of wealth from low- and middle-income taxpayers in the Red States to residents of the upper middle class and wealthy Blue States. This approach is also anything but progressive and would likely be reversed after the next election.

Second, Jenkins’ argument ignores the growing reliability costs associated with having to shift from reliable and affordable energy sources, such as fossil and nuclear fuels, to weather-dependent ones. The instabilities inherent in the variable nature of wind and solar power, as well as continued generosity federal grants for them, impose a host of costs on the larger power grid. For example, green subsidies allow power producers who use renewable sources to sell their electricity for less than the cost of production, while ignoring the costs associated with their unreliable nature. These subsidies destabilize the economy of reliable energy sources, making electricity production less secure. And when power outages do occur, they will hit rural working-class residents and low-income inner-city residents the hardest.

Our health and well-being, as well as our national economic competitiveness, depend on a reliable and well-functioning electricity grid. Given this, it is clear that subsidizing unreliable sources of energy fundamentally undermines the nation’s ability to function. This reality has become painfully clear during the February 2021 blackouts that shut down Texas and now routinely blackouts California during summer.

Third, Jenkins admitted that BBB will not reduce energy costs; it will simply shift rising energy costs from one budget item to another – but as we noted above, special tax favors for wealthy elites mean these policies hit low- and middle-income taxpayers hardest. .

It is telling that the most effective advocates of the green energy aspects of Biden’s Build Back Better plan must start with a broad, but ultimately overwhelming, assertion that it will lower energy costs. A closer look at the plan reveals that it will fall short of this goal and certainly does not align with progressive notions of economics. While currently at a standstill, the BBB, if passed, will enrich a select part of the affluent green political ensemble, and it will do so at the expense of all those it was meant to help.

Jason Hayes is Director of Environmental Policy at the Mackinac Center in Midland, Michigan. Follow him on twitter @jasonthayes.

Isaac Orr is a political researcher at American Experience Center in Minnesota. Follow him on twitter @TheFrackingGuy.