Heritage Expert Defines ‘Volunteer’ for Senators
“A big part of the definition of “volunteer” is not getting paid to do it.”
The Heritage Foundation’s Nicolas Loris, an economic policy analyst, has had to clarify this definition for some lawmakers who think that the energy efficiency building codes in their bill are still ‘voluntary’ if states and tribal groups are paid to follow them.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) 30% and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) 2%, sponsors of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013, seem to think their bill conforms to free-market principles — or at least that’s how they’re selling it.
Portman pitches the legislation as a pro-market, pro-decentralized-decision-making measure. But handouts for manufacturers are not free market. Nor are the subsidized workforce training programs or forcing energy efficiency into mortgage appraisals.
Furthermore, the bill authorizes $200 million of taxpayer money to “incentivize and assist” states and tribal groups to meet allegedly voluntary building codes. A big part of the definition of “volunteer” is not getting paid to do it. On top of that, the federal government already has provided billions of dollars in taxpayer money to dole out to states for efficiency improvements.
Sen. Portman writes, “Rather than instituting expensive, indefinite federal subsidy programs that benefit particular industries or technologies and distort the market, ESIC puts power in the hands of American businesses and American consumers.” Yet, a few sentences later he boasts about the 270 businesses and trade associations that support the legislation. And this legislation won’t benefit special interests?
Loris doesn’t buy into the ‘voluntary’ or ‘pro-market’ nature of this bill, and taxpayers and consumers shouldn’t either. The truth is Shaheen-Portman is “a federal government interventionist and handout wolf in allegedly voluntary, market-based sheep’s clothing.”