Where's My Hot Wheels Subsidy?

[Amazon Link]
(paid link)

Drew Cline of Josiah Bartlett notes some New Hampshire legislative mischief: Lawmakers consider a state subsidy for EVs as prices approach parity with conventional cars.

The e-mail version's subject line is punchier: "How to waste $1.5 million on electric vehicles".

Enticing people to buy electric vehicles does not fit comfortably into the core duties of state government. And yet it’s among the list of pet causes legislators will consider subsidizing with other people’s money.

The latest effort comes in House Bill 1472. The bill, as amended, would confiscate $1.5 million that belongs to electric utility ratepayers in New Hampshire and give it to people who buy or lease electric vehicles. The money would come from Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) funds currently rebated to ratepayers.

As Drew notes, with EV prices coming down to earth, subsidies are an unnecessary gimmick. It would have been nice, though, if the article had put the $1.5 million figure in context of the total RGGI rebates.

Let me dig out one of Ronald Reagan's quotes about subsidies:

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."

Since Reagan's day, the subsidizers have expanded their vision to things that haven't stopped moving.

George Will looks at a different proposal, and finds it subpar: Local media is struggling. Government subsidies would make it worse. The symptoms of that are well-known (GFW lists some), but:

The common economic problem is the migration, for reasonable economic calculations, of advertising dollars to digital platforms. The Illinois Local Journalism Task Force proposes making local news organizations wards of government by subsidizing them with direct grants, providing subsidies for low-income subscribers, giving tax exemptions and tax credits for news organizations (also for subscribers and advertisers and for hiring reporters), and mandating government advertising in the news outlets.

What could go wrong? Everything.

Soon, government would mandate hiring and coverage quotas for “underrepresented” groups, would enforce government’s idea of editorial “balance,” would censor what government considers “misinformation” about public health, diversity, equity and inclusion, and would dictate all things pertinent to government’s ever-lengthening agenda. The task force’s recommendations — journalism throwing itself into government’s muscular arms — are a recipe for making local news sources as admired and trusted as government is.

It's been a while since I've insulted the Concord Monitor by calling it Pravda on the Merrimack, but I could take it up again.

Also of note:

  • Because they are cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. That's my answer to Jeff Maurer's query: Why is the Right Suddenly Horny for Russia?

    I’m bad at predicting trends. I did not forsee the ska revival, nor did I predict that the fashion trend of the late 2000s would be jeans that give you plumber’s butt. I would not have guessed that in the 2010s, people would say “I invented a new currency called SteveCoin,” and then people would buy SteveCoin. I know that I get blindsided by stuff, so I will not be phased if Cardi B cures cancer of if Larry David becomes the 15th Dalai Lama or whatever.

    Even so: I have been caught completely off guard by the American right’s sudden hard-on for Russia. Trump constantly defends Russia, some Republicans in Congress are trying to soften support for Ukraine, and Tucker Carlson just gave Russia the same treatment that Billy Mays used to give to the Samurai Shark on late night TV. That’s a hell of a 180 for folks who used to diss Russia more than Ice Cube dissed Eazy-E. As recently as 2012, liberals like me were lobbing mean girl jokes at Mitt Romney for obsessing over Russia. I now admit that Romney was right, but, strangely, some Republicans have chosen exactly this moment to argue that the Russian regime — which is more of a corpse-producing factory than a government — is not so bad after all.

    I find Maurer's explanations unconvincing (but funny). And of course not all of "the Right" are joining the Putin Fan Club.

  • I don't have a snappy answer to this question, though. It's from Mr. Jim Geraghty: Why Does Vladimir Putin Always Seem to Outfox Our Presidents?

    President Biden, after meeting with Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021:

    Q: Mr. President, just a quick follow on the same theme of consequences. You said, just now, that you spoke to him a lot about human rights. What did you say would happen if opposition leader Aleksey Navalny dies?

    THE PRESIDENT: I made it clear to him that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia.

    Here’s President Biden, Friday.

    Q: And to be clear, you warned Vladimir Putin when you were in Geneva of “devastating” consequences if Navalny died in Russian custody.  What consequences should he and Russia face?

    THE PRESIDENT: That was three years ago. In the meantime, they faced a hell of a lot of consequences. They’ve lost and/or had wounded over 350,000 Russian soldiers. They’ve made it into a position where they’ve been subjected to great sanctions across the board. And we’re contemplating what else could be done.

    If you run around threatening “devastating consequences” if Navalny dies in prison, and then Navalny dies in prison and you say you’ve already imposed those “devastating consequences” in response to other Russian actions and you’re contemplating what else can be done . . . everyone will recognize that your talk about “devastating consequences” was bluster.

    JG provides a sobering history, going back to Dubya days, of failing to deal with Putin realistically.

  • But, really, what did you expect? Noah Rothman thinks Biden’s Betrayal of Israel Is Dumb Politics and Insane Policy. (One of my NR gifted links for the month, don't waste it.)

    Rothman sees the problem as the Democratic Party's rabidly anti-Israel wing threatening to damage Biden's November chances.

    This threat to the Biden campaign’s bottom line in November is sufficient to explain the administration’s efforts to mollify the anti-Israel activists in its coalition in ways that, in every other aspect, defy logic. The latest example of the administration’s commitment to folly has taken the form of a proposed draft U.N. Security Council resolution which, if passed, would signal that America’s support for Israel’s defensive war against Hamas has come to an end.

    The text of the resolution calls for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza — a cessation of hostilities Biden has already said he would force Israel to observe indefinitely. It calls on Israel to refrain from taking its ground offensive into Rafah, from which it recently exfiltrated Israeli hostages and in which Hamas fighters are still holding out. A State Department spokesperson defended the resolution by insisting that there should be no “full-scale Israel military operation in Rafah” absent a “credible and executable plan” for protecting civilians — a goal that is in irreconcilable conflict with the resolution’s objection to the “further displacement” of Palestinian civilians from harm’s way. “The best way to achieve an enduring end to the crisis in Gaza that provides lasting peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians alike, is our strong commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state,” the spokesperson added.

    Biden is (again) sacrificing American credibility, this time in pursuit of his electoral viability.