As Republicans take a step closer to deciding their fate at the top of the 2012 ticket all of the ticket, Senate Republicans this week are preparing to shoot themselves in their collective foot by lining the pockets of left-wing billionaires like George Soros with more government subsidies.
The subsidy is contained in the NAT GAS Act, which has flown under the radar until Senators Harry Reid, Robert Menendez, and Richard Burr offered it as an amendment to the transportation bill being debated this week in the Senate.
The NAT GAS Act would essentially subsidize demand, rather than supply, of natural gas by providing tax breaks for purchasers of natural gas vehicles – $64,000 per commercial truck, $7,500 for consumer vehicles, and subsidies for construction or retrofitting facilities for natural gas vehicle fuel. In total, it will cost taxpayers between $5-9 billion.
Natural gas is already cheap and abundant in supply. It is in no need of a taxpayer subsidy, which will artificially increase its price for businesses and consumers. Why are Republicans preparing to waste taxpayer money on an industry that is already going gangbusters?
Furthermore, the NAT GAS Act will benefit only a small pool of well-connected billionaire investors. T. Boone Pickens has been a vocal proponent of the bill and it is clear he will increase his vast personal fortune if the NAT GAS Act becomes law.
And there are others who will rake in millions from the taxpayers, as well. They include George Soros, Kevin Martin, Aubrey McClendon, and George Kaiser. The subsidies would go to companies in which these individuals hold significant investments. The three main companies that will benefit from the NAT GAS Act are Westport Innovations, Clean Energy Fuels Corporation, and Chesapeake Energy Corporation.
From a political standpoint: What the hell are Republicans thinking?!? They are just loading the gun left-wing billionaire Democrat donors will use against them in 8 months.
George Soros has made tens of millions (and set to make much more) from his investments in Westport Innovations. Over the years, Soros has been one of the biggest contributors to the liberal causes and Democrat candidates. According to OpenSecrets.org, Soros has given almost $2 million in direct contributions to Democrat candidates and committees since 1989. Over the last decade, Soros has funneled over $32 million to liberal 527s and leftwing, politically driven non-profits.
George Kaiser (remember him?) is a major supporter of the NAT GAS Act and has given money to the leftwing Center for American Progress. During the 2010 elections, Kaiser made $125,300 in direct political contributions; $118,600 went to Democrat candidates or committees.
Kaiser has a history of cashing in on subsidized energy companies. Kaiser used is influence with the Obama Administration to garner federal funds for Solyndra, an energy company he had close ties with. After the administration authorize $535 million in loan guarantees to Solyndra, the company filed for Chapter 11 and laid off nearly all its employees within two years.
Meanwhile, Aubrey McClendon’s Chesapeake Energy and affiliated companieshelped to fund the Sierra Club to the tune of over $26 million to promote policies that would eliminate coal and advance natural gas use.
Even T. Boone Pickens has steered his political giving to the Left. Once a prominent Republican donor, Pickens now pledges not to make federal campaign contributions in part because Senator Reid promised to move the NAT GAS Act.
Further, it was recently reported that he gave the leftwing Center for American Progress almost half-a-million dollars, and Pickens has spent $82 million since July 2008 promoting the NAT GAS Act.
Pickens’ wife, a large stockholder Clean Energy Fuels Corporation, has given $16,800 directly to Reid’s reelection and $50,000 to a liberal group that supported Harry Reid’s reelection.
There is no legitimate rationale for Republicans should support the NAT GAS Act. It’s a waste of taxpayer money. It would distort the energy market. It would drive up the cost of natural gas. It’s bad policy. And it’s worse politics.