Congress pours tax benefits into efficiency and renewables.
When Congress enacted the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act—popularly known as the bailout bill—in early October, lawmakers included more than 300 pages of provisions that were completely unrelated to mortgages, banks or Wall Street. Many of these provisions represent classic pork-barrel politics—i.e., tax incentives for mine-rescue team training; tax exemptions for certain wooden arrows made for children; and a rebate of federal taxes collected on rum from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Of course, the difference between good policy and bad pork depends on one’s perspective. Coal miners undoubtedly will appreciate having well-trained rescue crews. Wooden arrow makers everywhere are rejoicing over their reduced tax burden. And I personally raise my glass to Congress for keeping the Bacardi flowing.
Not surprisingly, the bailout bill also included many titles of interest to energy companies, and almost all of them create incentives to invest in green energy alternatives. While they might represent political pork for sellers of wind turbines, solar panels and conservation-related products and services, they also reflect America’s increasing focus on efficiency and sustainability in energy policies.