Politics

Obama’s wasted budget energy

Obama's wasted budget energy

The American Energy Alliance is not pleased with the energy component of President Obama’s new budget proposal:

Now months overdue, President Obama’s budget represents the administration’s desire to double down on bad energy policy. The same week that the U.S. Comptoller General identified scores of fragmented, duplicative and wasteful renewable energy programs, the Obama budget calls for even more spending on these and other initiatives, including permanent taxpayer-funded subsidies for century-old industries like wind and solar. He continues his effort to incorporate punitive and discriminatory tax measures for oil and gas producers into the tax code, while renewing his effort to poach mineral royalties owed to U.S. taxpayers to fund his green energy schemes without opening new lands for exploration and development.

Conspicuously absent from the White House budget is any mention of the Keystone XL pipeline. Now on a four-year delay despite numerous environmental impact studies and a new route that avoids sensitive areas, the failure to permit this critical infrastructure project is a daily reminder of the administration’s rejection of commonsense solutions to meet America’s energy needs.  Meanwhile, the President calls for fast-track permitting for renewables, ostensibly to hasten deployment of electricity generating facilities that don’t produce energy when Americans need it most. It’s a late budget full of lousy ideas, recycled to appear fresh and sensible in hopes that the American people will forget the failures of the past four years, higher gasoline prices, skyrocketing electricity rates, bankrupt renewable firms, and billions in wasted taxpayer money on politically connected industries.

Speaking of those permanent taxpayer subsidies for the ancient wind and solar boondoggles, the AEA recently busted Big Wind for cooking up a study that essentially tripled the potential job losses if their production tax credit is not extended for another year.  It’s funny how selective the Administration and its allies can be about job losses, isn’t it?  When government policies annihilate thousands of jobs, it’s nothing – just a few specks of dirt on the boot of a gigantic program like ObamaCare… but jobs in a favored industry that depends on corporate welfare are sacred and fragile.

The “fragmented, duplicative, and wasteful programs” referenced by the AEA were uncovered by a Government Accountability Office study released on Tuesday.  They went far beyond the energy sector, as USA Today reported:

Some agencies perform their own security assessments for federally owned buildings, even though they’re already paying the Federal Protective Service $236 million a year for the same work.

Thirteen agencies fund 209 different science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs — and 173 of those programs overlap with at least one other program.

And the government has at least 15 major financial literacy programs — including three new ones established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform andConsumer Protection Act.

A report delivered to Congress Tuesday lays out those examples among 32 areas where multiple government programs do similar work. The Government Accountability Office says the government might save tens of billions of dollars simply by eliminating duplicate and overlapping federal programs.

This is nothing new, as USA Today notes.  Titanic sums of money are routinely wasted on duplicate programs.  Thanks to an amendment from Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) in 2010, the government is required to issue regular reports on this waste, which means Democrats are obliged to pretend they care about it.  President Obama subsequently began making a lot of noise about “streamlining the government.”  It all sounds a lot like the perennial political promises to “save” billions per year by cracking down on welfare abuse.  It never actually happens, mind you, but it’s a vow renewed throughout every budget proposal and re-election campaign.

How is Uncle Sam’s crash diet coming along, USA Today?

Last year’s report identified 81 areas to make government more efficient. Congress and the Obama administration have implemented just four of those. There’s been some progress on 60 items, and no progress on 17.

Smashing success!  Four out of 81 reforms have been implemented, and there’s been some progress on some stuff.  Meanwhile, the President lectures us on the urgent necessity of giving him more money to spend, immediately.  He won’t consider any other reforms unless he gets tax increases… even though tens of billions of dollars are flushed down the toilets of redundant government programs every year.

There’s an awful lot of wasted energy in Obama’s budget.  Not all of it flows through the blades of useless taxpayer-subsidized windmills.  Why are we wasting time talking about anything else related to the federal budget, while so much precious taxpayer money – and cash looted from the future through deficit spending – is pointlessly frittered away?

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