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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 01/19/2011

Carpet bombing

By Tom Toles

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Be sure to check out my State of the Union Cartoon Caption Contest, now through Jan. 24.
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This is only a test

How to cut through the political stalemate of disingenuous posturing? Here's one good way, it seems to me!

Jeffrey Leonard, in a piece in Friday's Post, laid out a case for eliminating ALL energy subsidies. His point? That here's a case where you can 1) cut government, 2) save money, and 3) get greener. Now who, in the current scrum of holier-than-thou ideologues, is going to oppose this one? Hands?

I can't say if all Leonard's claims withstand actual number-crunching, but it seems like it might be a good test of everyone's political positioning to find out. Or, when faced with a real-world example of what people claim to stand for, do the breast-beaters retire into comfy silence? Thought so. --Tom Toles

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By Tom Toles  | January 19, 2011; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  China, National Security, Obama White House  
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Comments

Jeffrey Leonard, in a piece in Friday's Post, laid out a case for eliminating ALL energy subsidies.

With no other conditions at all, that is one EXCELLENT idea!

No need to make it more complicated than the simple statement, "Eliminate ALL evergy subsidies." That's it.

"Next."

Posted by: jonroesler | January 20, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse


Jeffrey Leonard, in a piece in Friday's Post, laid out a case for eliminating ALL energy subsidies. His point? That here's a case where you can 1) cut government, 2) save money, and 3) get greener. Now who, in the current scrum of holier-than-thou ideologues, is going to oppose this one? Hands?
From Tom Toles

I'd like to say this about that...
It sounds like a good idea to me.

The only problem would be is getting the “steal from the poor and give to the rich” conservatives to go along with that idea.
Even better yet would be to put a luxury tax on profits to level the playing field.
The way things are going at present; the powers to be are grim determined to turn our middle class into homeless peasants by raising prices and lowering wages.
The middle class is in denial. They have lost their courage.
The loud mouth frogs are drowning out any hope of meaningful solutions to vital problems that must be resolved.
Hi Ho, Hi Ho, there is no work so it is off to the poor house we go.
Dave


Posted by: OchamsRazor | January 20, 2011 2:56 AM | Report abuse

~~~Maybe while eliminating Energy subsidies we can cut the EPA.
Posted by: dalyplanet |~~~

Which one?-)

Posted by: bertzel | January 19, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Yes, let's get rid of EPA and all those nasty environmental regualtions. Since our natural environment is in such great shape and all; and corporations, if left unchecked, would NEVER do anything to pollute the environment just to save money.

C'mon daly....really?

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | January 19, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

It's not even a very good example to be honest. Cutting energy subsidies would obviously just be painted as "a tax on gas prices". Stop Obama taxing your gas pump. Etc. There's much better examples of clear-cut issues that conservative ideologues rail about but suddenly lose their voice over when it suits them. Government-run health care/Medicare for instance.

Posted by: bigmandave | January 19, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Certainly the free-market ideologues will be squirming in acute discomfort if this issue starts gaining traction.

Huh!! There will be applause.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 19, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

@dalyplanet - You want to cut the EPA. Since I live within a few miles of the largest Superfund site in the country, I tend to disagree with your rather shortsighted viewpoint.

You might want to run that idea past a few people who live near the Cuyahoga River, Love Canal, or Libby, MT.

Posted by: fbrewer1 | January 19, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I really did LOL when I saw the sketch.

The irony of Mr Leonard's proposal is that the fossil fuel corporations have been squawking about ANY subsidies for alternative energy producers, claiming that they really, really want a level playing field. But as soon as any consideration arises for reducing or eliminating THEIR subsidies, tax breaks, and outright grants, they bellow like wounded bison.

Certainly the free-market ideologues will be squirming in acute discomfort if this issue starts gaining traction.

Posted by: fbrewer1 | January 19, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Maybe while eliminating Energy subsidies we can cut the EPA.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 19, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

jhnnywalkr

funny !!!

He must have dropped early as I do not remember. Was he thinking about it in 2008 maybe?

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 19, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

jhnnywalkr

Following your logic Joe Biden for prez ???

Posted by: dalyplanet

Joe Biden ran for president.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | January 19, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

yes very

Don't you think maybe it's just a coincidence Bert? :)

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 19, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Very interesting link and post there Toles.
Very interesting, wouldn't you say daly?

Posted by: bertzel | January 19, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Dave what does the Tsunami represent in your post as I am poor with metaphors.
Posted by: dalyplanet

My Reply...
The tsunami represents the current forces at work that are preventing the actions necessary to reach higher ground before we are drowned by the collapse of our social systems.
Despite what the Conservatives preach; the obvious truth is that our problem is not too much government it is unresponsive government due to misconceptions of the problems of and the solutions to solving our present and future situation.
We are causing the earthquakes that will cause the tsunami that will destroy any chance of avoiding civil desintrigration that will bring about a desolate world of conflict and maliciousness.
For example; the lack of financial stability, greed and lack of funds for social stability are already preventing the soluton to human needs.
It is a small world and we have no where else to go. We have the choice between drowning in our own denial or listening to rational solutions to our problems without the self-destruct mind set.
Dave

Posted by: OckamsRazor | January 19, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

jhnnywalkr

Following your logic Joe Biden for prez ???

Good ol John McCain was due for a shot and he sealed Obamas election by picking Palin. You think conservatives will go down that path again? I doubt it. There are those that will encourage Palin but there is no way she will be the candidate.

The focus on her leads me to believe that the democrats want her as opposition to assure Obamas re-election.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 19, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I agree Palin stands little chance of winning the nomination, much less the election, in my opinion and, honestly, my prayers. However, she is a well-known figure in conservative circles, and she was on the last ticket as candidate for vice president, making her one of the Republican party's leaders, whether you like it or not, or whether I like it or not, for that matter.

Also she has not said yet she will not be running for president, so considering her position on the last ticket, she's not out and what she says is still relevant. She is, indeed, a front-runner as of now. It's quite likely she has no intention of running and wants to keep it up in the air for purposes of personal gain because of easy access to media exposure and the media is playing into that, but they really have little choice.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | January 19, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

End energy subsidies and farm subsidies.

Dave what does the Tsunami represent in your post as I am poor with metaphors.

Toles and others, What is the obsession with Palin. There is no chance she will become president. I would imagine that the left would want her as the presidential contender as her defeat would be certain.

Palin is a pundit, a commenter, a celebrity, with a reality TV show. Now I know a lot of you don't think that republicans are very smart and perhaps you are right, but rest assured that they are not so stupid to run for the white house with Palin.

When time are good the people can perhaps afford a celebrity prez, but we all know we need a serious focused person to manage our government today.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 19, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

pararanger writes
"Leonard appears to be suggesting that we should eliminate subsidies but increase research. Wouldn't that just be changing the color of the money? There isn't enough detail in his proposal to sort it."


Not really. While he is saying that we should be spending more on research, he is arguing that we should cut subsidies to everyone - established businesses like oil & gas extractors, as well as spending on research for alt fuels. In other words, he's suggesting a co-co-co-compromise where the right gives up corporate welfare & the left gives up promotion of alternative energy.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 19, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

sketch: ouch

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 19, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

It is obvious from today’s Sketch that you loath Sarah Palin. You did, however, watch her interview with Hannity. Since you find her so despicable, why do you continue to watch her every move?

Posted by: quiensabe | January 19, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

If our business leaders will not invest in the infrastructure we need in the future, it is up to government to have the technology ready to build and even put a framework in place to make the transition as seamless as possible.

We can do it, even if it is "picking winners."

Posted by: GaryEMasters | January 19, 2011 6:42 AM | Report abuse

OckamsRazor wrote:

["We need major change in this hour of greatest need and we have a bunch of lunatics preventing solutions with their lies, deception, obstructionism and selfish vested interests. Dave"]

------------------

Dave is right. The government supported, union operated, Michigan car companies should buck up and do what is right for the country. Bust up the unions and start over with quality, fuel efficient cars that folks actually want to own. Let capitalism run its course - and get rid of all the dead wood in Detroit.

Posted by: pararanger22 | January 19, 2011 5:18 AM | Report abuse

Leonard wrote:

["It should invest heavily in long-term research and development to hasten the progress of new commercially viable energy technologies."]

-----------------

Leonard appears to be suggesting that we should eliminate subsidies but increase research. Wouldn't that just be changing the color of the money? There isn't enough detail in his proposal to sort it.

Typically, Toles rant only underscores part of the story. Eliminating subsidies is a worthwhile endeavor but Leonard wants additional taxes on coal mining and does not encourage further oil exploration. Furthermore, he vastly overstates our current solar and wind capacity as it is now. It is just dumb to think alternative energy is even close to being ready for prime time. Conservatives really tire of these pie in the sky arguments.

That being said, I'm all for ending subsidies of all types, not just energy. There might be a deal here - eliminate the subsidies for increased drilling rights in ANWR, offshore oil, and shale.

Posted by: pararanger22 | January 19, 2011 5:14 AM | Report abuse


To Tom Toles...

Try this for a frustrating scenario.
While flying over the ocean you notice a thousand foot high tsunami wave heading for shore.
You call the nearest coastal city to warn them that it is coming.
The person on the phone thinks you are a prankster calling.
You fly to the city and land at the airport and they do not believe you either.
You drive to the city mayor’s office and all you can get is an appointment to see him in a couple of weeks.
As you leave the City Hall, the wave appears on the horizon.
When you go out on the street and point it out to the people, they say, "what Tsunami?" when they are looking right at it.

Oh, the great joys of ignoring the obvious!
Everyone is going to drown and all they are concerned about is that they might get wet.

We need major change in this hour of greatest need and we have a bunch of lunatics preventing solutions with their lies, deception, obstructionism and selfish vested interests.
Dave

Posted by: OckamsRazor | January 19, 2011 1:29 AM | Report abuse

By the end of that article it seemed to me he was arguing for a lot of government help for alternative energy rather than a truly level playing field. Anyway, good luck getting the oil and ethanol companies to give up their tax breaks. And nuclear could not exist without the government insurance subsidy, no matter what the market conditions.

Posted by: moore_te | January 19, 2011 12:28 AM | Report abuse

It's an interesting idea. He is, admittedly, an investor in "green and clean energy" so the idea should be debated, but it certainly is a compelling argument and really is a proposal to let the chips fall where they may and let the market decide.

He lists a few regulations and such against coal and oil energy to make the price reflect the true costs of creating energy that way, reflecting perhaps his bias on the subject, but I really can't say I disagree with any of those. I can't say no one else will though.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | January 18, 2011 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Bo's going to have some fun. Wasn't Bo a gift from Teddy Kennedy so who knows what going to happen?

Posted by: billybeer6 | January 18, 2011 8:57 PM | Report abuse

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