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Another Modest Proposal (With Apologies to Jonathan Swift)

By Michael Brower, Senior Federal Policy Director, Mosaic Federal Affairs

In 1729, Jonathan Swift wrote and anonymously published Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public. In the Proposal, Swift, a dedicated reformer calls for selling Irish children as food for the rich in order to solve the economic woes of Ireland. Written as a Roman satire, Swift pushes his favored reforms by making fun of them, and saying afterwards, let no man talk to me of other expedients.

And so, with a nod to Swift, I call upon the American people to vigorously advocate to Congress that we should eliminate all renewable energy subsidies while ensuring that all the longstanding coal, oil and gas subsidies be sustained and continued. We must eliminate renewable energy subsidies because they ensure security of supply. These renewable fuel subsidies only ensure adequate domestic supply and help create U.S. jobs by supporting indigenous fuel production. We must not create a situation which reduces import dependency, or harm the overseas activities of national and foreign energy companies. Importantly, the United States cannot risk the environmental improvement and reduction of pollution that renewable energy subsidies enable nor tolerate the resultant economic benefits in the form of reduced prices that stimulate economic activity and job creation; not to mention the growth of employment opportunities, especially in periods of economic transition like right now.

Under no circumstances should we even consider touching the subsidies of the fossil fuels industry as we call for the elimination of all renewable fuels subsidies. The vast array of fossil fuel subsidies are good for the American people, if they weren't how could they have been around for so long? Our oil, gas and coal companies need their depletion allowances, direct financial transfers, preferential tax treatments, trade restrictions, energy-related services provided by government at less than full cost, favored regulation of their fossil fuel energy sector, demand guarantees and mandated deployment rates; price controls; market-access restrictions; preferential planning consent and controls over access to resources and the subtle barriers they enjoy to stave off external costs including environmental externality costs; energy security risks and price volatility costs. Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients, 'till he hath at least some glimpse of hope, that there will ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them into practice.

Michael R. Brower is Mosaic Federal Affairs' Senior Federal Policy Director and is the firm's principal responsible for the firm's legislative objectives and priorities.

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The American Council On Renewable Energy

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