President Barack Obama famously believes that all of his policies are supported by “facts and science,” while opposition to his policies comes only from “fear and frustration.” As The Washington Post documented twice last weekend, that is just plain false. First Charles Lane reports:
The Obama Energy Department has suggested that, with the help of federal money, manufacturers can ramp up mass production and bring the price of electric-car battery packs down 70 percent by 2014 – thus rendering the cars more affordable.
But J.D. Power is skeptical. “Declines of any real significance are not anticipated during the next 5 years,” the report notes, adding that “the disposal of depleted battery packs presents yet another environmental challenge.”
Nor are industry and government close to resolving the lack of a nationwide recharging infrastructure – or the vehicles’ poor performance in cold weather or on hilly terrain.
Fine print on the Volt ad promises just “25-50 miles of electric driving in moderate conditions.” Translation: Much of the time the car will be running on gas, just like ones that cost far, far less than the four-seat Volt’s price of $33,500 (after a $7,500 federal tax credit).
In short, the Obama administration’s commitment of $5 billion in loans and grants for electric cars is the biggest taxpayer rip-off since corn-based ethanol. It benefits no one but a few well-to-do car buyers and politically connected companies. Any “green” jobs these rent-seeking firms create will vanish when consumers reject their products and/or the subsidies cease.
And on President Obama’s high speed rail policies, Robert Samuelson wrote:
Let’s suppose that the Obama administration gets its wish to build high-speed rail systems in 13 urban corridors. The administration has already committed $10.5 billion, and that’s just a token down payment. California wants about $19 billion for an 800-mile track from Anaheim to San Francisco. Constructing all 13 corridors could easily approach $200 billion. Most (or all) of that would have to come from government at some level. What would we get for this huge investment?
Not much. Here’s what we wouldn’t get: any meaningful reduction in traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, air travel, oil consumption or imports. Nada, zip. If you can do fourth-grade math, you can understand why.
Lane and Samuelson are both dead on. This administration’s environmental policies have nothing to do with science and everything to do with politics. You can read Heritage research on the electric car sinkhole here and on the high speed rail boondoggle here.