Greens Rule

“The Campaign,” is an attack on the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling masquerading as a major summer comedy release. This attack becomes overt in the film’s final scene, in which the decision that overturned restrictions on political expenditures — as a violation of free speech, no less — is sent up. The film furthers the simplistic media-Hollywood Left stereotype that corporations buy politicians.

That’s fiction.

For a cold dose of reality, a new House Oversight Committee report on the process behind the Obama Administration’s 54.5 MPG-by-2025 average vehicle fuel economy mandate reveals that the real power lies with federal bureaucrats and their Green allies. Together they have forced unreasonable environmental standards down corporate throats — after which corporations must spend millions in lobbying to try and manage their indigestion.

So-called Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards (CAFE) have always been opaque and ripe for abuse. But standards that were once set by the Department of Transportation — which at least has a passing familiarity with autos — have now been hijacked by the Green Church (that is, the EPA). The result, reports the Oversight Committee after pouring through interviews, documents, and emails (and getting the typical White House information stonewall), is that the “the Administration dictated politically motivated standards to a captive automobile industry” in a “raw political process designed to appease environmental extremists. These special interest groups were given unprecedented and powerful seats at the table.”

Thus, the quixotic 54.5 MPG standard was picked out of thin air. This absurd number (designed by Greens to eliminate the internal combustion engine which drives 97 percent of new cars) was met with shock from automakers as “representatives from GM explained to Administration officials how their proposal was ‘overly aggressive’ and commercially unworkable.”

Commercially unworkable? Details, details.

Obama Auto Czar Ron Bloom arrogantly asserted the automakers didn’t know their own business. “Our technical folks think you can get there,” he lectured an executive by email.

But GM — and its Detroit neighbor, Chrysler — had an ace in the hole: They are partially-owned by the same federal government making the regulations. Soon Obama & Co. were reaping the rewards of their new regulatory power by sitting at the receiving end of millions in lobbying from the Detroit Three to tilt the playing field.

“Both Chrysler and General Motors (in 2011) posted their biggest annual lobbying tallies since the government bailouts,” reports the Center for Responsive Politics. “General Motors led the charge in 2011, pouring $10.8 million into its federal lobbying budget. (Chrysler) spent $4.3 million on federal lobbying…(and) Ford spent about $6.7 million.”

As a result, the Obama Administration let slide rules that both cars and trucks had to increase fuel efficiency by 5 percent a year. Instead, trucks “only” had to make 3.5 percent increases. Why? Because Detroit is more dependent on sales of light trucks than its Japanese competitors.

“Although this new incentive helped the Administration secure the critical support of the three domestic automakers,” says the Oversight Committee, “the foreign manufacturers immediately noticed the inherent unfairness….One executive even described the light-truck carve-out as a ‘second auto bailout.’”

Said one Toyota exec: The deal was an “old Detroit tactic. It may hurt me, but it hurts my competitors more.”

And so it goes, with auto manufacturers of all nationalities pouring more money into Washington to influence the real power in America: Obama’s regulatory Leviathan. “The Administration included ‘bonus credits’ for certain technologies,” continues the report, “such as electric vehicles, flexible-fuel vehicles, and clean natural gas vehicles” in order to game the numbers.

How much must they be gamed? Truecar.com, a leading industry analyst, reports that the current average fuel economy of all cars sold is only 23.1 mpg — nowhere close to the 35.5-by-2015 standard, much less the 54.5-by-2025.

Get ready for many millions more diverted to Washington lobbyists.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More