The Corner

SOTU: The Energy Tab

One clear clinker in the president’s State of the Union address was his pledge to cap discretionary spending and yet to “incentivize” America’s commercial energy sector. The latter requires limitless billions in federal loan guarantees to risky energy-commercialization projects. These loans have already been pleaded for by “clean” coal, nuclear, wind, and solar lobbyists — who claim that since the loan guarantees are off budget and all will be repaid, they are as good as being entirely free. This, however, is nonsense. The Congressional Budget Office estimated, for example, that roughly half of the nuclear projects would default. Add the loan requirements for wind, solar, and clean coal to the $100 billion the nuclear industry alone has lobbied for, and what the U.S. taxpayer will get stuck with is sure to be horrendous. Unfortunately, the president was all too clear on how this tab would be covered: He urged the Senate to approve House-passed cap-and-trade legislation. It would create a Clean Energy Development Administration to administer the loans and use carbon-emission taxes to cover any defaults. All of this adds up to more spending, more taxes, and more federal meddling in America’s economy.

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