June 21, 2006
Daniel Drezner professes (!) to be mystified by the tax incentives for hybrid-powered vehicles. That happens to be one of my biggest pet peeves, so I couldn't resist jumping into the fray. Unfortunately, something is wrong with his blog comment system, so my repeated attempts to post the following comment came to nought. For the record:
Prof. Drezner says "why someone should get a tax credit of over $1,500 for a Lexus GS 450h when its gas mileage is below a lot of non-hybrid cars on this list is beyond me." Is it not obvious that the whole idiotic system of tax breaks is designed to artificially inflate the social prestige value of energy conservation? The transparent sop to "domestic" car makers via that 60K quota diverts attention from the more fundamental question of why U.S. energy policy is not market based. My wife and I considered an Escape Hybrid but I detest being suckered by fickle Federal incentives, so we got the conventional V-6 engine instead. If Congress really believed that energy is more precious than is reflected by current market prices, they should simply raise excise taxes on fuel across the board. Of course, they won't do so as long as most Americans believe that cheap energy is their birthright. Hence the tax code gimmicks and statist social engineering. Seeking to discern rational intent in a policy that is in essence a cloak to conceal massive hypocrisy is a waste of time.
Here's another way to look at it: Anyone who feels guilt over driving a gas-guzzling vehicle is in effect admitting that he or she is not paying as much for the gas as it's really worth. We've had our Ford Escape for just over a year, and it's doing fine. I would have preferred a Chrysler PT Cruiser, but Jacqueline had her heart set on the Escape.
Prof. Drezner also explains why the International Whaling Commission so often makes decisions that are contrary to basic conservationist principles: flagrant bribery! In this case, by Japan. Who would have thought that an international organization would be susceptible to such crass practices? Since the whaling moratorium was enacted in 1986, more than 24,000 whales have been killed, mostly by Japan, Norway, Russia, and Iceland. See CNN.com.