European taxpayers already have a meaty hunk of bank bailouts to swallow. Now they’re getting something green on their plates as well.
Just weeks after EU lawmakers passed strict new carbon-emission regulations despite warnings that they would cost auto makers dearly, Brussels called Wednesday for €40 billion in loans to the industry so that it can comply with the new rules. The EU taketh away, the EU giveth.
Brussels describes the loans from the European Investment Bank as being necessitated by the financial crisis. The looming recession will no doubt hurt auto sales in Europe, which fell further than expected during the third quarter.
But the freezing of credit markets and stream of banking failures were already well under way when the European Parliament voted in late September to force auto emissions lower by 18% within just four years. MEPs knew about the economic conditions, but nonetheless rejected proposed compromises to spread out the reductions over more time and lessen the fines for noncompliance. It’s also devious, even by political standards, to approve an obviously expensive regulation and then, a month later, to provide the funding for it — all the while acting as if the two moves are unrelated.
In their more honest moments, eurocrats acknowledge that they’re following America’s lead here. Washington has guaranteed $25 billion, or about €20 billion, in loans to the Big Three U.S. auto makers so that they can meet new fuel-economy standards passed last year, and Barack Obama wants to give them $25 billion more.
It wasn’t so long ago that the Bush Administration sued Europe at the World Trade Organization for its soft loans to Airbus; now it’s setting the trend in corporate handouts. The U.S. used to be the only side of the Atlantic willing to try to stop these kinds of subsidies, which Europe is only too happy to grant.
If Mr. Obama wins next Tuesday, expect a subsidy synergy between Europe and America as each pushes the other to greater heights — or should we say depths — of public largesse. The main effect will be to increase governmental influence over the industrial sector at the expense of taxpayers on both sides of the pond.
Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus has doubled down on her argument that it can be a good thing to abort a child prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome. After her March 9 column saying she would’ve aborted her child if he or she received a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, Marcus received well-deserved ... Read More
The NR-endorsed Illinois GOP gubernatorial candidate had an excellent interview this morning with Laura Ingraham. If you are a voter in the Land of Lincoln and still need motivation to get rid of Bruce Rauner, get motivated by going to Laura’s home page and clicking on the audio for “GOTV for Jeanne Ives.” Read More
Only a few months ago, it seemed as if Steve Bannon’s plan to take over the Republican party wasn’t just a fantasy. After he left the White House last summer, the former presidential adviser was talking big about a new version of the Tea Party — the uprising that knocked off several mainstream Republicans ... Read More
Unsane doesn’t take the form of a horror film; at first, it appears to be a Hitchcockian thriller about mistaken identity or perhaps getting ensnared in a web of bureaucracy. Yet with clinical detachment it develops into a nerve-flaying story almost too agonizing to endure. Unlike most horror movies, it isn’t ... Read More
Italy has just had elections, with very interesting results. I wanted to talk with Alberto Mingardi, which I have. He is one of the leading classical liberals in Italy -- the director general of the Bruno Leoni Institute, in Milan. (Mingardi himself is Milanese.) He is also an authority in arts and letters. In ... Read More
On Sunday, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin won an unsurprising reelection-campaign victory against Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin, by a margin of 76.7 percent to 11.8 percent. The results were unsurprising because Putin is a tyrant who murders or imprisons political rivals, and who isn’t afraid to use ... Read More
I am not one of those Brexiteers who believe that Brexit and Trumpism are essentially the same phenomenon in two different countries. To be sure, they both draw on some of the same political trends, notably a distrust of elites and an upsurge of popular anger over evident failures of public policy such as illegal ... Read More
President Putin’s landslide victory in Russia’s presidential election was achieved against the lackluster competition of a group of mediocre candidates from which the sole serious opponent had been excluded; amid plausible allegations that his security services had tried to poison two Russians in England by ... Read More