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Energy Bailouts and Handouts Donít Belong in Coronavirus Packages

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Unread 03.23.20, 08:39 PM
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Energy Bailouts and Handouts Donít Belong in Coronavirus Packages

On 03.23.20 01:06 PM posted by Nicolas Loris

Social distancing policies at the state and federal level have forced businesses to close temporarily, which has led millions of Americans to worry about their financial situation.* Policymakers must offer focused, temporary solutions that specifically help people who are unable to work or whose businesses have been adversely affected by the closures.*

In true Washington fashion, though, Congress is pushing for policiesunrelated to the economic and health concerns caused by the epidemic. Thelatest is that House leaders want toinclude climate regulations on the airline industry and expand subsidiesfor the wind and solar industries.

For decades, taxpayers forked over billions of dollars tosupport wind and solar projects across the country. States contributed with renewableportfolio standards, which mandate that a specific percentage for a stateíselectricity mix come from renewable sources, essentially guaranteeing them amarket for their product.

This is not only costly*to taxpayers, it distorts private-sector investments, prolongs dependency on preferential treatment from Washington, enables cronyism, and contradicts the principle of keeping measures narrow and focused. Whatís worse, it comes at a time when both industries have said repeatedly that they are cost-competitive without subsidies.

To be clear, the pandemic is having an immediate adverseeffect on energy companies and their employees. Many components for solarprojects in the U.S. come from China. Factories closing for social distancingreasons is causing supplychain disruptions.

It has caused upheaval in the oil industry as orders to close businesses depress demand for fuel, and the Russia-Saudi Arabiaís price war further drives down prices. But that does not mean taxpayer-funded bailouts and handouts that could last years beyond the pandemic are needed. *

Instead, Congress should offer near-term economic relief to businesses and employees affected by the coronavirus crises.*For instance, ďdelaying tax filing deadlines, delaying estimated tax payments, and expanding access to business net operating lossesĒ would offer welcome tax relief for businesses and individuals. *

Assistance for employees of businesses required to shut down or significantly slow down because of government orders would ensure the help gets to those most in need.

For instance, flexible and targeted paid sick and family leave assistance would help families most adversely affected and prevent long-lasting cronyism that entrenches the desires of special interests.

Furthermore, immediate regulatory relief and waivers would lower operating costs and maintain a high level of environmental protection. *

Another senseless restriction is the Jones Act, which allows only U.S. vessels to move goods from American port to American port. A waiver from those requirements would lower the costs of transporting fuel and help noncontiguous areas such as Puerto Rico secure more medical supplies, food, and other necessary goods.

Like many other sectors across the country, companies in theenergy sector are struggling, and that deserves Congressí attention. But thatísnot an excuse for bailouts and handouts. Enacting policies today that enrichthe politically connected for years after the pandemic is over is not whatAmericans deserve.

The post Energy Bailouts and Handouts Donít Belong in Coronavirus Packages appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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