Big Goverment Spends Taxpayer Dollars To Study Energy Behavior

Posted on Fri 07/31/2009 by

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By Nick Loris

From E&E News:

“House Science and Technology Committee yesterday approved legislation to establish a social and behavioral sciences research program at the Energy Department.
The Science Committee also approved three bills to focus DOE research on energy efficiency and advanced energy technologies through programs in advanced vehicle technologies, wind energy and natural gas turbines.

Rep. Brian Baird’s (D-Wash.) H.R. 3247, would authorize $10 million annually over six years to better understand why people make certain decisions about energy technologies in an effort to spur greater market adoption, he said.”

We don’t need to spend $10 million to understand why people make the energy decisions that they do. That is simple. Free people are rational and they want reliable energy at an affordable price.

What requires studying (and we might even support this as a federal expenditure) is why politicians are so keen to force expensive, unproven energy technologies – making Americans pay doubly – for more energy subsidies and for pricier electricity.

We know the answer to that, too. It’s this green movement that’s going on in Washington. But on Capitol Hill, it takes a different meaning. It’s green, as in cash.

E&E goes on:

Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) pointed to numerous studies that show how changes in behavior can lead to substantial energy savings without huge costs. He added that the $60 million price tag over six years, while significant, is worth spending if it will lead to “free savings.”

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) took GOP criticism of the bill one step further, arguing that establishing a program focused on changing people’s behavior oversteps the boundaries of the federal government’s role.”

So the government is using taxpayer dollars to change people’s behavior? Rohrabacher goes on to say, “At some point controlling people’s behavior and social engineering becomes a threat to people’s freedom.” That point starts with the first dollar spent on social engineering. Social engineering is nothing more than an attempt by the government to manipulate people’s decisions based on certain political agendas.

But we shouldn’t be surprised.

Using social engineering to compel free people to engage in irrational economic activity is the only thing that Waxman-Markey cap and trade advocates have left. The fact is that their global warming facts are becoming demonstrably more fictitious with each day that passes.

They preach about warming as we experience record low temperature. They tell us about scientific consensuses in the face of scientific dissent. We are promised jobs as unemployment rises. They say that energy prices will decrease despite a tax on 85% of our energy sources.

Social engineering is pure arrogance. Perhaps they need a reminder from F.A. Hayek:

The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

Contributing Author Nick Loris writes at The Heritage Foundation and he is a Research Assistant at The Heritage Foundation’s Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies.

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