Despite Massive Subsidies, the Green Energy Transition Is Floundering

Published November 1, 2023

In 1779, Thomas Jefferson penned the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, in which he wrote, “to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.” Although Jefferson was specifically referring to the fact that Virginia colonists were being forced to subsidize the Crown and its mandated religion (the Anglican Church) via contributions of money, aka taxes, his core message aptly applies to the current imposition of renewable energy subsidies by the federal government.

In recent years, the federal government, with the help of the mainstream media, corporate America, academia, Hollywood, and others has fostered a new state-sanctioned religion: the Church of Climate Change. And, like King George, who forced the colonists of Virginia to pay taxes to the Anglican Church, regardless of whether or not they practiced the faith, a similar dynamic exists today wherein the federal government is forcing Americans to pay taxes in support of climate change, whether they believe in it or not.

Consider. According to a recent report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the federal government has doled out $183.3 billion in direct and indirect subsidies for green energy over the past six years alone. The majority of these subsidies ($83.8 billion) have gone to solar and wind power, which account for roughly 20 percent of total domestic energy production.

On the other hand, conventional sources of energy, such as oil, coal, and natural gas, which account for more than 60 percent of domestic energy production, received $24.5 billion in federal subsides over the same period.

Unfortunately, the generous federal subsidies are on track to skyrocket, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act. As The Wall Street Journal reports, “The Congressional Budget Office forecast that the IRA’s energy and climate provisions would cost $391 billion between 2022 and 2031, but this appears to be a huge under-estimate. One reason is companies are rushing to cash in on tax credits that aren’t capped. The Biden Administration is also loosely interpreting conditions for the credits.” All said and told, The Wall Street Journal estimates the total cost of the renewable energy subsidies in the Inflation Reduction Act to exceed $1.2 trillion.

Aside from the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars being used to prop up wind and solar, the federal government is also strong-arming taxpayers to subsidize the production and purchase of electric vehicles.

Thanks to a new report by the Texas Public Policy Foundation titled “Overcharged Expectations: Unmasking the True Costs of Electric Vehicles,” we now know government subsidies “suppressed the retail price of EVs in 2021 by an average of almost $50,000.” What’s more, “Home and public charging stations used by EVs put a significant strain on the electric grid, resulting in an average of $11,833 in socialized costs per EV over 10 years, which are shouldered by utility ratepayers and taxpayers.”

And, “Despite massive incentives, EVs are receiving a tepid response from the majority of Americans who cannot shoulder their higher cost. Car lots are swelling with unsold EVs and the Ford Motor Company is losing over $70,000 on each EV it currently sells.”

As Jefferson opined, it is tyrannical to force people to furnish contributions of money for a cause or program they do not believe in or find abhorrent. This is why taxpayer dollars are not used to fund religious institutions or abortions, among many other controversial issues. As such, the same standard should be applied for federal funding concerning green energy.

If the people desire solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles, let them purchase these products with their own money. Just as Jefferson recognized that the Crown was acting despotic in forcing the colonists to fund the Anglican Church, today’s federal government is guilty of the same crime, by forcing hard-working Americans to fund the federal government’s crusade against climate change.

Photo by James St. John. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

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