President Obama and many in Congress are going after tax breaks given to the oil industry. The issue is controversial even among free marketers. Folks at the Cato Institute are generally supportive of Obama’s efforts while my old friends at the National Taxpayers Union oppose Obama’s plans. I generally side with NTU on this one, but I’m wondering, if subsidies are bad, why aren’t President Obama and the Democrats taking on the $60 billion in ethanol subsidies which dwarf the $21 billion in breaks given to oil and gas?
As a believer in the free market, I support getting rid of ALL energy subsidies or special exemptions. But, as the Wall Street Journal points out:
solar energy is subsidized to the tune of $24.34 per megawatt hour, wind $23.37 and “clean coal” $29.81. By contrast, normal coal receives 44 cents, natural gas a mere quarter, hydroelectric about 67 cents and nuclear power $1.59.
Obviously, it is the politically-correct so-called “renewables” that receive a bulk of the subsidies, but, if people want to pay more for politically-correct power — as PNM customers will be soon — they should be able to.