Green Spending Is Mere Virtue Signaling That Hurts the Poor

Green Spending Is Mere Virtue Signaling That Hurts the Poor
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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President Biden’s spending plan, with less than 40% devoted to what most Americans consider infrastructure, shouldn’t be labeled an infrastructure plan. When it comes to politics, there’s never been much truth in labeling, and there’s even less today.

Priorities like roads, bridges, highways, airports, harbors, and transportation decongestion plans, get short shrift to larger spending on the green agenda and utterly ill-defined research and development slush funds.

Supporters claim climate change is an urgent issue, and that this bill will magically solve our problems, despite lacking the data to support those claims. 

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the official government temperature record-keeping agency, the U.S. has only warmed 1.6°F (0.88°C) over the last 125 years because of longer growing seasons and warmer winters.

This hardly constitutes an emergency that justifies trillions of dollars in spending to try and reach net-zero emissions. Even President Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, at a January press conference, said, “We could go to zero tomorrow and the problem isn’t solved.”

If cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions doesn’t significantly move the needle, the majority of Americans would likely say, “Don’t waste my money and don’t make my electric rates skyrocket.” Our climate envoy says this because he knows that much of the world is still in a coal-building frenzy—especially China

These nations are building and opening hundreds of coal plants, including 184 in China, all with lifespans of at least 40 years. Never mind that China burns more than half the eight billion tons of coal used each year and coal usage is climbing.

Atmospheric CO2 is up 33% since 1960 with no correlated heat increase. Increasing CO2 does correlate to ever-increasing corn and grain crop yields and worldwide record harvests regularly. We are now growing far more crops on far less land because of CO2’s fertilizing effect.

Moreover, spending $174 billion on electric vehicle charging stations, government-owned electric vehicles and electric buses is a bad idea. Last year, only 2% of the 17.5 million cars sold in the U.S. were electric.

Less than 0.5% of the nearly 275 million cars on U.S. roads are plug-in electric. In fact, the average income of a Tesla owner is more than $140,000 a year, nearly twice the median family income of everyday Americans.

Biden wants to spend big on subsidizing electric vehicles and their infrastructure for the wealthy—at everyone else’s expense. He wants to increase corporate taxes to pay for this worthless virtue signaling and giveaway to the rich: “Unplug Democrats' Tesla Tax on the Poor.” 

If corporate tax rates increase—one of Biden’s ways to pay for this largesse—the electric rates that decreased or stayed the same under the Trump corporate tax cuts will be reversed and electric rates will go up. This change will increase energy poverty, which often harms people of color the most. Indeed, it’ll damage the very same people that Biden purports that he wants to help.

Additionally, Biden plans to funnel millions, maybe even billions, toward the construction of electric buses. Electric buses cost double their clean propane competitors.

Hillsborough bus agency, which serves Tampa Bay, received a federal grant of $2.7 million they had to match. They spent the $5.4 million buying four electric buses. That’s a whopping $1.35 million apiece.

The resources spent on those electric buses would provide $35,000 for each of the remaining 155 gas and diesel buses to convert to propane. In addition to greater emissions reduction immediately and long-term, the conversion would save the bus agency and taxpayers millions every year in operating costs.

Spending the money this way is a much bigger environmental and taxpayer win. Apparently, though, when it comes to climate, virtue signaling is far more important than facts and commonsense.

I’m sure this type of wasteful electric spending on a grand scale will be part of Biden’s green giveaway. The devil is always in the details—and we don’t yet know the plan’s details. The lack of transparency and forthrightness is all the more shameful of the administration.

The left cares more about virtue signaling and hating on life-giving fossil fuels—the only pragmatic way we have to get food from field to table—than anything else. If Democrats care about reducing CO2 emissions, they’d start proposing pragmatic and efficient solutions. 

It’s too bad we can’t get to a grown-up, fact-based discussion of what is best for our country, the environment and taxpayers' wallets. Green virtue signaling is insanely expensive and is a complete waste of taxpayers’ dollars.


Frank Lasee is a former Wisconsin state senator and alum of former Gov. Scott Walker’s administration.

Frank Lasee is a former Wisconsin state senator and former member of Governor Scott Walker’s administration. The district he represented had two nuclear power plants, a biomass plant and numerous wind towers. He has experience dealing with energy, the environment and the climate. 

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