I read a wonderful book about the brainiacs in the US Government’s electric battery research group during the Obama administration. What I took away from the book is that the government can make incredible progress in advancing clean energy because they don’t have the pressure of quarterly results; however, tax incentives increase the number of private companies that are willing to gamble on research. Thirty years ago, no one invested in solar because fossil fuel prices were way too low and the cost of solar energy was way too high to make it practical except for the most extreme applications such as in space (the Space Shuttle, orbital satellites).
I believe that tax incentives such as tax rebates on the hybrid Toyota Prius ten years ago and the EV tax incentives have brought clean energy technology sooner than would have occurred without tax incentives.
I think being able to breathe cleaner air is something that people who can’t afford Teslas will benefit from. And as the production costs continue to go down, EVs will become more affordable and the electric recharging and battery swap network will become more prevalent. I also see the technology going into public busses, which can benefit everyone as well.
But to your question
BUT, if you are opposed to the wealthier Americans getting government subsidies then why are you upset when such a subsidy is terminated? Or am I missing something?
I don’t know if I’ve explicitly said I was opposed to wealthier Americans getting government subsidies. Did I think it was ridiculous for New York City to offer billions in tax subsidies to Amazon, when NYC wasn’t hurting for employers? Absolutely, and the fact that Amazon blinked and moved to NYC without any tax subsidies confirms it, IMHO.
Do I think that Hedge Fund traders should lose the Bush tax cut that allows them to only pay 15%(?) on their earnings? Absolutely, because they add nothing to the Common Good to justify the “tax incentive.” It’s pure political corruption that they were able to buy politicians from both parties to pass that legislation.
But when you have an extremely risky venture, with a long-term payback if it’s successful, and it’s going to benefit the country to accelerate innovation, then I think it makes sense to provide tax incentives if it will help to achieve that benefit.
Of course, you could do the math and convince me that the tax incentive amount could be lower and still achieve that benefit. Or that there are so many competitors going after this innovation that no incentive is necessary.
Does that make sense or at least clarify my thoughts on this?
Ask away with additional questions if it wasn’t. 🙂