Conservatives Protect Rich From Class Warfare Except The Rich Who Embrace Clean Energy

Bill Scher

As the President and congressional leaders propose letting the Bush tax cuts expire for those earning more than $250,000 a year, conservatives in Congress are screaming “class warfare!”

Of course, if establishing different tax rates for people with different incomes is always “class warfare,” then America has suffered a bloody class war since 1862.

But certainly one has the right to embrace a conservative view that government policies should not treat people with different incomes differently.

Funny though, how the conservatives in Congress aren’t afflicted with the same aversion to “class warfare” when it comes to clean energy.

CQ reports today that House Republicans successfully amended a bill promoting energy-efficient home renovations, to deny incentives to households earning more than $250,000:

Sponsored by Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., the bill (HR 4785) would authorize …. $850 million annually for Home Star, to be administered by the Energy Department, and $150 million annually for Rural Star, to be administered by the Department of Agriculture. The Home Star Energy Efficiency Loan Program would provide loans to states for programs that would finance home renovations to promote energy efficiency … The Rural Star Energy Program would make no-interest loans to eligible entities, such as rural utility providers, that would in turn lend money to rural energy consumers to undertake structural improvements and make investments in technologies to reduce energy use in their homes…

…Republicans did succeed in making amendments to the legislation through what proved to be a non-controversial motion to recommit that was offered by John Shadegg of Arizona. The motion, which amended the measure to make households with a gross income of more than $250,000 ineligible for loans under the energy-efficiency programs, was adopted by voice vote.

The conservative logic is not only inconsistent, but also completely backwards.

While there is no public benefit by permitting the wealthiest is contribute far less than they comfortably could to the continued success of our nation, encouraging any homeowner to reduce energy usage benefits everybody by helping avert a climate crisis, creating green jobs and strengthening national security.

The only reason I can think of that would justify placing an income cap on clean energy incentives is that so little money is being invested these program that lawmakers want to make sure those that need assistance the most can get it.

But the solution to that problem is to listen to these 300 economists, get over the deficit hysteria and invest more money in modernizing our infrastructure and building the clean energy economy.

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