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Subsidies were a bad idea for state

July 9, 2013

The foolishness of taxpayer subsidies of politically correct causes — chief among them, “alternative” energy — is not confined to Washington. West Virginians have been doing it, to....

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Jul-15-13 8:17 AM

I think the only way to eliminate human’s contribution to climate cost is to eliminate humans. As such, should coal bear the entire burden of climate change?

My point is, yes, coal has external cost that the industry tries to minimize but coal also has contributing factors that offset those cost. I read a study that contributed 2 jobs for each coal mining job and that’s simply too low. A conservative number is 5 with realistic number 7 jobs for every coal mining job.

If you’re going to start counting every single cost, then it has to be both negative and positive cost.

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Jul-12-13 10:37 PM

Well, there's the difference in a nutshell: I have sometimes agreed w/ Manydems (although not often).

To unpack that a bit: In my 12:55 post, I looked at an issue from more than one viewpoint. That confuses some people.

OK, it wasn't my most focused writing. To paraphrase AaronS (on "No Oversight"), we're writing comments on a small town paper, not articles for a scholarly journal.

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Jul-12-13 7:21 PM

NEO, was your last post {at 12:55 PM} supposed to make sense? OR was it a copy of some irrelevant BS that ""Aaron"" normally posts to confuse the readers??? I KNOW THAT I NEVER AGREE WITH YOUR POSTS, BUT YOUR 12:55 WAS BEYOND THE PALE OF UNDERSTANDING. Even for right wing/tea baggers. NON CORN SOURCES and environmentally benign sources with potential???? DUH!!!!

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Jul-12-13 12:55 PM

Do you count climate change in coal's external costs? You concede that it's happening, yet it seems you find some way not to include it.

It isn't easy to calculate externalities. The first few are easy enough; but then you get into hidden effects & knock-on effects & it's easy to get lost.

E.g. I knew a fellow who got out of going to Vietnam b/c on his last night on Buffalo Creek, he lost a leg to the flood. How do you score that? (He probably would have been better off going to 'Nam.)

As for E85: It's out-of-balance at present. Whether it works in the future depends on how non-corn sources & processes shape up. If an environmentally benign source w/ potential to become cost-effective is developed, having large numbers of E85 vehicles already in use will greatly expedite progress. But that's not worth the present subsidy of thousands of dollars per vehicle.

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Jul-11-13 11:18 PM

Sorry, that should have said "provides a much needed product that is not easily replaceable and independent jobs." Think what you like Neo but coal pays more of their external cost than anyone from the left will ever admit.

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Jul-11-13 8:40 PM

I don't believe coal would have. It's actually a useful product that provides independent jobs. E85 doesn't.

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Jul-11-13 10:17 AM

But so would coal.

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Jul-10-13 7:13 PM

If ethanol based fuels were forced to pay their external cost, they would have gone away long ago.

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Jul-10-13 4:49 PM

A market-based economy must include what economists call "externalities".

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Jul-10-13 11:58 AM

I favor a market based economy. Let it decide the future.

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Jul-10-13 11:25 AM

So we agree. Corn ethanol should be phased down, & probably out. Not an abrupt cutoff -- desirable for the reasons you mention; but those now invested in corn ethanol need some time to adjust. To abruptly jerk the rug out from under them, leaving them w/ stranded costs, would be as much an abuse of the government's power to regulate as the over-subsidization of corn ethanol was.

But not a long time.

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Jul-10-13 9:07 AM

Research what the increased use of corn for gas is doing to the aquatic life surrounding rivers and the Gulf of Mexico. You will find that the large amounts of pesticides being used are damaging to both.

Then research what it is doing to our food source and how it effects growing not only corn but other critical food products as well. Fields used to grow the same crop over and over again cause damage to the soil, which is why farmers rotate their crops. With the increased demand for corn from ethanol producers, more and more farmers are committing their fields to corn and ignoring other crops, which causes shortages in food supplies as well as damaging fields.

If you do the research, you will find that the negatives of ethanol far outweigh the positives thus it is not only costly to taxpayers to subsidize the purchase of these vehicles, it is downright dangerous for American taxpayers to continue to prop up an industry that is doing so much harm.

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Jul-10-13 7:58 AM

Half-agree. We're getting more corn-based ethanol than we need. W/ a more environmentally-friendly & economical source of ethanol, we could use a lot more E85 vehicles. R&D on new sources is going slower than expected.

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Jul-10-13 12:04 AM

Ethanol based fuel has been around for a decade. If the market were going to bear it out, there would be more than 2 stations in WV. It's not been good for vehicles, the environment or consumers. It's time to stop kissing corn state butts and end the charade that ethanol is a positive mandate.

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Jul-09-13 8:19 PM

Have to Disagree w/ AaronS this time.

E85 vehicles are designed to run on E85. (Some older vehicles barely tolerate the E10 which is all you can get most places.) Possibly your E85 vehicle will last longer w/ fewer repairs on E10; but more likely it will be the other way around, since E85 burns cleaner. Is there evidence?

For E85 to be competitive, it has to cost less per gallon. That shouldn't be difficult at the rate the price of E10 (or any other mostly-gasoline formulation) has been going up for the past several years.

You should be buying miles per $, not miles per gallon or gallons per $s.

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Jul-09-13 7:17 PM

Well said "Suttle"

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Jul-09-13 6:11 PM

No free market will ever demand a fuel that gets 70% the MPG of the alternative at 85% of the cost and is more damaging to the vehicle.

The only way that fuel comes about is if it is mandated by a central government that doesn't care about individuals and their freedom.

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Jul-09-13 3:35 PM

The market will demand more E85 gas stations as more cars are E85 compatible. It is in West Virginia's interest to have cleaner air, especially in the Mid Ohio and Kanawha Valleys. I believe if the writer of the editorial was going to be critical of subsides, the writer should have listed all of the companies or special interests that receives such attention from the legislature. The writer, by singling out only one subsidy, diminishes his own credibility.

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Jul-09-13 12:29 PM

Have to Agree w/ AaronS again. I'm all for flex fuel vehicles -- as many fuels as feasible, it allows drivers to shop around thus putting at least a little competitive pressure on suppliers. But the current E85 subsidy pays automakers too much for too little benefit.

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Jul-09-13 9:04 AM

WV wasn't the only state that offered that tax and GM took advantage of it. One of the vehicles that qualified was the 'flex fuel' vehicle. GM offered a rebate for any vehicle purchased in 2013 and promoted that credit, showing the purchaser how they could own a new truck stickered at $40k for as little as 25K. The flex fuel vehicles that received this credit were designed to use E85 fuel, which is 85% percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline instead of gasoline.

There are just a few problems. First, if you do an internet search for E85 fueling stations in WV, you find one in Bridgeport and one in Morgantown so West Virginia taxpayers subsidized the purchase of vehicles in which the vast majority of drivers are not using the alternative fuel. It seems to me that someone in our legislature would have take note of that and would have at the very least removed flex fuel vehicles from the vehicles receiving the credit.

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Jul-09-13 8:19 AM

lol by tomorrow it will be $22 million, ahh our government at work, priceless.

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Jul-09-13 5:07 AM

In yesterday editorial, "On the Ropes" West Virginia was forced to take nearly $18 million out of its Medicaid reserve fund in order to avoid ending its fiscal year on Sunday with a budget deficit.

Now in today editorial, "Foolishness" Just before the fiscal year ended, state officials had to take nearly $20 million from a Medicaid reserve account to avoid a deficit.

So which is, nearly $18 or nearly $20 million?

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