August 02, 2005

More on the Energy Bill

The Philly Daily News gets it just about right in their editorial this morning. This Energy Bill does nothing to fundamentally change the way that America fuels itself. Instead, it gives tax breaks and direct subsidies to an industry that is already doing better than ever. I can't imagine how a Senator could explain spending tax dollars this way, but luckily for the oil industry lobbyists, 74 US Senators found a way.

Back home, a lot of these folks get to deal with a happily pliant press. For example, in Jim Talent's case:

U.S. Senator Jim Talent said, a pro-growth, pro-jobs energy bill is long overdue. That's why he's particularly excited about what has recently happened on the Senate floor.

Senator Jim Talent, a member of the Senate Energy Committee who helped craft the bill, said it will provide a blueprint for
the supply, delivery and efficient use of energy resources of all kinds including renewable resources such as ethanol and

Talent calls it a real victory for Missouri. He says it will help lower energy prices for consumers.
Talent says the bill is also important because we'll keep the money we spend on energy in the United States.

That's what passes for reporting on this issue. How this bill will lower energy prices or "keep the money we spend on energy in the United States" is anybody's guess. Despite the fact that the bill is described as "pro-growth" (my personal favorite amorphous buzz-phrase), Talent apparently couldn't be bothered to actually explain any of the Bill's details with the reporter, writing for his local ABC affiliate. Fortunately, Taxpayers For Common Sense put together a Bill tracking website. There you can find out the full potential cost of the Bill, which they think will be way above the $14 billion ballpark that most papers are reporting. That's because, beyond the corporate tax breaks, the Energy Bill is bogged down with direct subsidies that are yet to be appropriated. Watch for the cost to rise dramatically, perhaps to $80 billion.

I mean, people, this bill is so bad it got the CATO Institute and Sierra Club to not only sit at the same table, but pen an Op-Ed together denouncing it.