Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Invisible Hand Makes a Rude Gesture

Well, it looks like I was wrong: Mr. Rogers actually did set foot in the district last week.

After his interesting stab at "talking" to voters on WHMI (a radio town hall, which ensured Rogers wouldn't have to be in the same room as unscreened constitutents), the Press & Argus' Mike Malott noted that Our Republican congressman from Brighton dropped by the offices of the Daily Press & Argus last week to chit-chat about a variety of topics.

The "chit-chat" got off to a jolly start with Mr. Rogers' ideas about health care (!) and the presidential race. Things took a turn for the indignant, though, when the topic turned to the auto industry and alternative energy.

Seems that last year's changes in CAFE standards (which Rogers considered an effort to "make a fat guy skinny by mandating smaller pant sizes") have really offended Mr. Rogers' free-market sensibilities:

If pollution from our internal combustion cars is threatening to cause global warming, Rogers said, the better solution would be to let car companies innovate our way out of the problem.

Hmmmm. Fair enough. Some car companies HAVE innovated their way out of the problem, which is why there's a waiting list for Toyota Prius and Honda Civic hybrids.

[The Prius, as you may recall, is a vehicle which irks Mr. Rogers to no end. When the 2007 energy bill was delivered to the White House in a Prius -- currently, it's the only vehicle that meets the new CAFE standards -- Mr. Rogers called it a slap in the face. And he called it a "pregnant roller skate" in this morning's Freep. What is it about this tiny car that so gets under Mr. Rogers' skin?]

But wait -- how can Mr. Rogers be an advocate for zero Congressional interference in auto and energy policy AND at the same time push for billions of taxpayer dollars in research subsidies?

This doubletalk isn't anything new. Late last year, Rogers was cranky about a Californian bill to regulate auto emissions
"California would still be allowed to design American cars, and the only thing worse than that is to have Congress designing our cars," Rogers said in a statement. "American families ought to decide what cars they want to drive, not the state of California where extremism continues to damage the manufacture of American cars and hurt American workers."
Wow! A statement like that gets high-five from the invisible hand!

That high-five turns into a slap upside the head when you see how much taxpayer money Mr. Rogers has thrown at the auto and energy industries over the years, including $20 billion for a proposed "green technology incentive program," ethanol subsidies, oil & gas tax breaks...

Here's another thing: when the Big Three were trying desperately to meet with President Bush in the summer of 2006, Mr. Rogers didn't lift a finger to help them. He even said to the Free Press, "I have always been a little bit amazed at the lack of prowess of the Big Three in Congress."

SUMMARY: Complain when Congress sets guidelines for industry, but nod vigorously when Congress doles out federal $$ to those industries. Take money from those industries, then crack wise when they need your help.

Don't laugh -- this strategy has been working for Mike Rogers over the past 8 years!

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