When Paul Begala expressed his admiration of President Obama for abusing executive orders to circumvent the Constitution, the Congress and the will of the voters, he famously summed it up as “Stroke of the pen, law of the land. Kinda cool.” That could easily replace California’s state motto, which is currently “Eureka!,” which sounds like something “Progressives” might say upon discovering totalitarianism.
This is timely because California leaders are once again fantasizing about using the awesome (and they believe that in every sense of the word) power of the government to force every resident to trade in his or her gas-powered car for an electric car or hydrogen by 2040. They’ve talked before about deadlines for a certain percentage of cars on the road to be EVs, but those were thwarted by the public’s stubbornness in refusing to buy them. The government forced dealers to stock them, but they just sat unsold on car lots, gathering dust like last year’s trendy Christmas toy. So now, California politicians are resorting to their favorite weapon: the heavy hand of coercive government.
California Assembly member Phil Tang plans to introduce a law that would bar the state motor vehicles department from registering any car that emits CO2, starting in 2040. Only electric or hydrogen cars could be registered. And if you can’t afford or don’t want one of those? Well, you’ve obviously made the mistake of thinking that the state cares about your opinion.
In examining the problems with this (beyond the governmental overreach), Reason.com points out that politicians are no better at pretending to be experts in automotive engineering than they are at pretending to understand environmental science or energy production. This law would require 99.6% of Californians (by current numbers) to give up their gas-powered vehicles. There are nearly 35 million registered vehicles in California now, and who knows how many more by 2040. How will they build enough charging stations? Where will all the electricity come from? California already has brown-outs because they refuse to build enough power plants. Will the greenies who pull the politicians’ strings okay a raft of new nuclear power plants? What about all the resources it will take to manufacture the tens of millions of EV batteries, and what happens to them when they wear out? Even with massive state subsidies, 83% of EVs are purchased by people making over $100,000 a year. How will a state facing chronic budget shortfalls subsidize tens of millions of poor residents in buying cars they don’t want? Or will they just leave the poor and working classes to rely on public transportation or walking…in CALIFORNIA?
But don’t worry about the details. Stroke of the pen, law of the land, don’t ya know? Besides, China is already planning a similar blanket decree; and as the head of the California Air Resources Board said in September, Gov. Jerry Brown “has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California.”
Well, maybe because China only appears to have a free market economy, while in reality, it’s a dictatorship run by power-mad, communist authoritarians who don’t give a darn what the people want.
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