At other times, the small ball issue is less about money and federalism, and more about the government intervening in the market and picking winners and losers. Take H.R.1380, a boondoggle of a bill designed to subsidize the production and use of natural gas vehicles. It has 187 co-sponsors, including more than 80 Republicans, again including some otherwise solid conservatives.
Again, this is small ball. No matter how exciting a technology may be or how much promise it may hold, the government should not be providing it special treatment. We’ve seen government intervention and preferential treatment fail time and again with ethanol, windmills and biofuels.
That alone should be enough to keep conservatives (or any commonsense individual, really) away from the bill. Unfortunately, there is more to the bill. Section 403 affirms that reducing greenhouse gases is a worthwhile policy goal for federal lawmakers. That is a recipe for big government, high energy prices and more unemployment.
To their credit, four lawmakers have withdrawn their support for the bill: Reps. Stevan Peace (R-NM), Todd Akin (R-MO), Tim Griffin (R-AR) and Glenn Thompson (R-PA). Others, like Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and Raul Labrador (R-ID) have been fighting it from the beginning.
We need more principled leaders like this.
Make no mistake, we must get the big issues right and the House majority, especially, has shown a tremendous dedication to doing just that. However, consistently getting the small dollar issues wrong will not only undermine their objective, but also their credibility.
We are living in one of the most consequential periods in American history. Over the course of the next several years, the decisions made in Washington will either allow America to decline into a stagnant welfare state or save the American Dream of a dynamic entrepreneurial society striving for exceptionalism. Cutting wasteful programs with no track record of results is common sense. Congress needs to start getting these votes right.