During this week’s Republican presidential primary debate in Las Vegas, both Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) slammed the very idea of subsidizing any energy source. “Quite frankly, the government shouldn’t be in the business of subsidizing any form of energy,” Paul said. “So I would say, the more the free market handles this and the more you deal with property rights and no subsidies to any form of energy, the easier this problem would be solved.” Perry added later, “we don’t need to be subsidizing energy in any form or fashion.”
But as it turns out, both Perry and Paul have sought federal energy subsidies with gusto, as the Washington Post noted today:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) pressed the energy secretary in 2008 to approve a federal loan guarantee to help an energy company hoping to expand a nuclear facility in Texas. NRG Energy was among the many firms vying for a slice of $18.5 billion in federal loan guarantees set aside for nuclear production, according to letters obtained by The Washington Post. That led to a rush of appeals from Congress members and other elected officials, including Perry and Paul, hoping to win support for their projects.
Perry and Paul both said “their earlier advocacy for a specific Texas project does not contradict their fundamental beliefs.” But for Perry at least, this is just the latest in a long line of instances where he embraced federal spending that he claimed to oppose.
For instance, he railed against the 2009 stimulus package, before using it to balance his budget. He claimed that he was against a bill meant to save teachers’ jobs, and then accepted the funding anyway. He even said he was a “vocal opponent” of No Child Left Behind, after trumpeting the money he received under the law.
Instead of energy subsidies, “Perry cites Texas’s ‘enterprise fund’ for emerging energy companies as a model.” That fund — in addition to not creating the number of jobs Perry says it has — has basically been a slush fund for him to dole out money to companies that donated to his campaigns.