Business / Government Watch / Opinion

Washington Knows Best What Car You Should Drive: Electric Vehicles. Seriously?

electric vehicles

“When politicians are out there saying, ‘Let’s get rid of all cars using gasoline,’ do they understand this?” Toyota President Akio Toyoda asked in 2020, referring to the profound consequences of politicians forcing a transition away from conventional vehicles.

It’s a good question, and a proposal in the so-called Inflation Reduction Act being pushed through Congress suggests the answer is “no.”

President Joe Biden has used a variety of policy vehicles to force a transition from the ubiquitous internal combustion engine to electric vehicles. Among them are executive orders, procurement mandates for the military, and  regulations to make it almost impossible to manufacture and sell a conventional car or truck.

The Senate is poised to join in. Heaped on top of tens of billions of dollars in grants, taxpayer-backed loans, and investment tax credits for EV manufacturers, the misnamed Inflation Reduction Act negotiated by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., proposes an extension of EV tax subsidies.

The bill offers up to $7,500 in tax credits for new EV purchases, including bonuses for EVs made by union labor and batteries manufactured or assembled in North America. The legislation also makes the existing EV tax credit even bigger by eliminating caps on sales, adding a new tax credit of $4,000 for used EVs, and extending the credits for the next decade.

While there are some improvements—unlike the existing credit, the credit is not available for Americans earning more than $300,000 jointly or for EVs containing batteries made with critical minerals from “foreign entities of concern”—they don’t address the real problem.

The problem isn’t the size of the credit or even EVs themselves. The real problem is politicians attempting to force a transition to energy sources they prefer, having no inhibitions about the arrogance of such a central planning scheme, the restrictions it imposes on freedom, or the trade-offs, limitations, and collateral damage those policies cause at Americans’ expense.

Trade-offs, Limitations, and Collateral Damage

There’s no perfect vehicle or energy. All involve compromises that individuals, families, and businesses prioritize differently. Yet too many politicians think they know what’s perfect and the right vehicle for everyone else. And as they inappropriately impose their preferences on Americans, they ignore the costs of forcing EVs would impose on the country.

Let’s count some of the ways.

1. The disconnect between reality and political aspirations is wide. A full 90% of Americans’ transportation energy needs are covered by petroleum. EVs make up about 1% of registered vehicles in the U.S., despite years of federal and state subsidies. The International Energy Agency estimates that politicians’ aspirations for EV deployment under the Paris Agreement climate commitments imply a thirtyfold increase in demand for minerals used in EV batteries by 2040. That’s perhaps why the head of EV company Rivian warned that ongoing supply chain problems with “semiconductors are a small appetizer to what we are about to feel on battery cells over the next two decades.”

2. EVs trade fuel dependency for mineral dependency. While conventional cars and trucks rely on global markets for crude oil and refining capacity (both of which the U.S. is a major global supplier of), EVs must rely on global markets for mining and refining of minerals, which account for more than half the cost of an EV battery.

Minerals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite, and copper are needed to manufacture batteries and other components in EVs. According to the International Energy Agency, EVs use six times more minerals than a conventional car. The agency estimates that it takes more than 16 years on average to get a mine up and running from the moment of discovery of mineral deposits. Yet the Biden administration has done its level best to block new mining capacity in the United States, particularly in Minnesota and Alaska.

American miners are a small player in global markets for the minerals needed for EVs: Chile is the world’s largest mining country for copper; Indonesia for nickel; Australia for lithium, and—far more troublesome when it comes to human rights abuses and environmental stewardship—China for rare earth minerals and the Democratic Republic of Congo for cobalt.

Refining capacity for these minerals is deeply concentrated in China.

In other words, “concerns about price volatility and security of supply do not disappear in an electrified, renewables-rich energy system.”

3. EVs are being used as a pretext for big government favors to labor unions. While there is certainly no reason why policies addressing EVs have to be special favors for labor unions, the Schumer-Manchin bill would give bonus tax subsidies for EVs made with union labor. This is just good, old-fashioned cronyism. Further, these policies would inflate EV costs and penalize most workers who prefer not to join a union. It could even backfire and lead to fewer electric vehicles being produced and sold in the U.S. Only about 14% of autoworkers are unionized in the U.S. Meanwhile, foreign-owned automakers now employ more U.S. workers than domestic automakers.

4. Policies pushing EVs are corporate welfare and special favors for the wealthy. Of the estimated $7.5 billion in existing EV credits to be claimed between 2018 and 2022, corporations will take about half. Of the other half claimed by individual Americans, 78% will go to people making more than $100,000 per year. One state leads the pack: California is home to 39% of registered electric vehicles—perhaps unsurprising inasmuch as the state is banning the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles starting in 2035 as part of its radical climate agenda.

5. There’s no guarantee that EVs reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Regardless of how one views the issue of global warming, EVs are no surefire solution. EVs have to plug in somewhere, and 60% of the electricity consumed in the U.S. is generated from natural gas and coal. Ironically, even as the need for electricity generation would grow, federal regulators and some states are trying to choke off production and use of natural gas as a power source, just as they’ve been trying to do to coal for years. It’s no wonder grid operators have heightened concerns about reliability.

6. EVs come with trade-offs for owners. EVs bring interesting capabilities to the table, but they also have detractors. Currently, many EVs cost more than their conventional counterparts. Refueling takes time. EV batteries lose an average of 2% of their capacity each year (depending on exposure to temperature extremes, how often an owner charges the battery, and other habits that degrade batteries), and replacement is costly. Some parking garages even prohibit drivers from parking in them due to the risks of batteries potentially catching on fire. And the driving range of EVs decreases and heating becomes a costly choice in cold weather, which is probably why very few EVs are registered in cold-weather states that don’t heavily subsidize them or penalize gasoline cars.

It’s one thing for an individual, family, or company to weigh trade-offs and make the decision to purchase an EV. It’s a totally different matter for politicians or bureaucrats to force the decision on Americans.

Competition made America a great country in which to innovate, run a business, and shop for products that meet the diverse needs of Americans. EVs are one of a variety of options out there competing for Americans’ business and should compete on their merits.

Unless Congress comes to its senses, American taxpayers will be covering the costs of big government EV policies, whether they buy an EV or not.

Note: This article has been updated since publication.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email [email protected] and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.


Reprinted with Permission from - The Daily Signal by – Katie Tubb

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Steven
14 hours ago

Once again we’re repeating past history as Politicians and Government are trying to manipulate the automotive market place. They tried this in the 1970’s after the Arab Embargo by OPEC. Until that time gas and oil was cheap and the auto makers were churning out big, gas guzzling cars and trucks because that’s what the buying public wanted.

Then came the CAFE Emissions Mandates which allowed up to them novelty cars like Honda, Toyota and Datsun take over the US marketplace while the big 3, GM, Ford and Chrysler all struggled to revamp their car production to compete with the fuel efficient imports.

By the late 1980’s and 1990’s computers and fuel injection systems were able to meet the CAFE requirements and what happened next is that the government endorsed econoboxes were being replaced with large SUVs, Pickup Trucks and larger cars again. People wanted their bigger vehicles and the market decided on what vehicles people drove.

This agenda driven narrative to change the market from fossil fuel vehicles toward electric powered vehicles is decades away from reality. The infrastructure for charging stations, the false narrative that electric cars will save the planet while we are ecologically destroying the earth to mine for the rare metals and minerals it takes to build these electric car batteries and the ultimate demands on our electric grids to power the charging stations.

And what powers the power plants? Is it solar? Is it windmills? No it is coal, natural gas and nuclear. The electric car industry is not sustainable at this pace. The products are too expensive. The average American won’t be able to purchase one. And the environmental impact of all of these toxic batteries has not been well thought out. It doesn’t matter if the government is subsidizing the purchase of these vehicles with “tax credits”. Who is the hell cares!

As long as fossil fuels vehicles are still around, and they will be for the long term foreseeable future, I’ll be a customer for life!

Henry D
17 hours ago

I have just two questions; how many of these politicians with over-inflated salaries drive EV’s themselves ( their chauffeur doing all the legwork to keep it running?)?
And have you seen the satellite’s photographs of Lake Meade behind Hoover Dam lately ( one MAJOR source of electrical power for the Los Angeles megatropolis ), so if the wind behind all those windmills should die even a little where are you going to get that 240-voltage to charge your car? and it is DIRTY AC to begin with.

Bob
1 day ago

Who’s going to pay for my electric vehicle as I sure can’t afford one!

johnh
1 day ago

Electric Vehicles are one of the many future things to look into & improve. At this time, too many unanswered questions for EV in USA: Where is long term plan for energy, manufacture of batteries, life of batteries, Batteries must be recycled & not put into landfill — like blades of wind turbines and solar panels. Time frame must be realistic of maybe 50-years in USA so that country does not end up broke, hungry, and in the dark because we do not have energy to live the American lives that we have today. And politicians in Washington, DC need to realize that the medium income in USA for a lot of people is below $40K per year.

Smike
1 day ago
Reply to  johnh

I feel the same way – still a lot of unanswered questions. And I can’t use the EV tax credits until I finish with the solar tax credits. I’d love to go EV but my corvette is paid for and gets 15+ miles per gallon depending on how it’s driven. An EV will cost me $45K – $60K plus the cost of a docking station and the power to charge it. So that’s adding $750+ to a fixed retirement budget that I don’t pay now. Gas for the vette, $150 a month (I’m retired), so the EV is still a minimum of $600+ out of pocket for 5 – 6 years. These car makers need to understand, we don’t need a vehicle that can go 0-60 in 3.0 seconds. We need a vehicle that can go 500 miles on a charge at 60 mph and 600+ miles at 45 mph. I want comfortable, affordable, dependable transportation. I don’t want another race car.

Jeanette
1 day ago

Electric cars are a luxury…gas and oil are just 2 things that “run” just about anything. It’s a stupid soul who wants to eliminate them without having something in place to sustain the power we need to operate. I think J Kerry and others need to try rowing a boat or kyak over oceans to other countries for their shady deals…maybe then they will realize their environmental crap is just that.

Joel
1 day ago

Progressives are ideologues; what matters is compliance with their ideology. Just never question the sacredness, the worthiness of their ambitions or you are out of the club. It’s their religion.

This excellent article lists all the practical details they do not want to deal with; to them, these questions are irrelevant. Surely government can figure it out, we went to the moon for cryin’ out loud! So they will dismiss virtually every roadblock (or claim it’s not true) placed in the path of their goal. They don’t care if the U.S. economy suffers as long as their ideological pursuit of their goal is unchecked. In this pursuit they have been aided by Republicans all to willing to go along rather than fight. But facts such as presented here about EV still matter to many of us as outlined in this article. Thank you.

Hal
1 day ago

One of the features of a Constitutional Democracy is that the majority of citizens elect the people to govern (not rule) the Nation and protect the Constitution and see that the Constitution defines what rights citizens have and what laws are needed to insure that. It’s what the elected politicos think they would like or prefer what is best the citizenry, not for them personally, and what is within the bounds of the rights found in the Constitution and laws legally derived from that Constitution. The DemocRats want to RULE the Nation, not just GOVERN the Nation, thus putting their personal desires at the top of their preferences and votes.

Brian Carrozza
1 day ago
Reply to  Hal

I know that this is splitting hairs, but America is a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy. As Rush Limbaugh used to say, “Words mean things.”

Centurion
1 day ago
Reply to  Hal

There’s one thing wrong with your comment. The USA is NOT a democracy! It is a republic. To illustrate the difference in a democracy two wolves and a lamb are debating what’s for dinner. Guess who ends up being dinner. In a Republic the lamb is fully armed and contesting the vote.

edward
2 days ago

follow the money! check the billionaires, who own all the electric related business, and will add to their fortunes by forcing us to go all electric without forcing them to let the technology improve to the point that it actually is cost effective compared to petroleum based energy. they dont want to wait for the technology to become competitive with petroleum! they are doing this because because they cannt outright buy the current big energy companies; exxon, shell, bp etc and rake it in there so they are using government to force us to buy their uncompetitive product.
AND DONT GIVE ME ANY OF THIS CRAP ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING!!!!
WHEN I SEE THE ELITES LIVING IN CAVES AND EATING BERRIES I WILL BELIEVE THEY HAVE THE COURAGE OF THEIR CONVICTIONS, UNTIL THEN, POUND SAND!!!!!!!!

David Millikan
2 days ago

DICTATOR Beijing biden and his Communist Party need to stay OUT of OUR LIVES and SECURE the BORDER, DRILL FOR OIL, and CONVICT Hunter biden with daddy.

Brian Carrozza
1 day ago
Reply to  David Millikan

Traitor Joe.

Jake the snake
2 days ago

There have been a lot of electric car fires. Gm just had to recall all of their volt cars. Ford had to recall their new electric cars too. Tesla is having battery materials issues.

The tesla has been built for years yet battery material issues.

The only car that seems to be completely viable is the price and it is a 50/50 electric car.

Once again everything the democrats touch turns to s***.

Mandy
2 days ago

I read that a new battery for these electric cars costs $14,000. They don’t talk about that.

edward
2 days ago
Reply to  Mandy

of course not, they dont want to wait for the technology to be cost competitive with petroleum. THEY WANT THEIR MONEY NOW, TO HELL WITH PUBLIC’S WISHES OR CAPITALISM!! that is why they back the communists in the democrat party!!!

granky
2 days ago

I am a motor head and subscribe to several magazines. All of them are pushing EVs, fully electric more than hybrids. and only about 20% of their articles, tests and reports are being presented for gasoline powered vehicles. None of them honestly talk about the problems with EVs i.e., lack of range, the need for a level 2 charging system at home ($2000 average installed cost), damage done by level 3 quick charges, zero resale value when batteries are exhausted, virtually no roadside charging available, etc. etc. etc…. EVs may be the future but not the near future. We are being force fed crap.

edward
2 days ago
Reply to  granky

I read them too and it is irritating. the european and british mags are worse. they have basically given in to big brother.

ezed2109
2 days ago

This is scary on so many levels. Again they are putting the cart before the horse… actually it is more like a semi-truck in front of a donkey.
Their goal (I will not call it a plan – THERE IS NO STRATEGY OR PLAN FOR ANY OF THIS) their goal is a 30 fold increase in demand for minerals used in EV batteries by 2040″ Huh? What is this 2040 date? The 2018 UN report that started this latest climate scare and “The New Green Deal” claims we have until 2030 to reduce CO2 levels by 40% otherwise the effects are irreversible! Democrats say it is the end of the world! Isn’t a 2040 date a little too late?
Interesting Dems are pushing Union made and at the same time requiring those same Union workers to pay for the Federal bail out of Student Loans; students that go onto get high paying jobs as lawyers, doctors and Directors of Diversity making 6-figures!
This article and others point out all of the short-comings and flaws of what rational people see as a train wreck coming.. BUT how do we know for sure? Democrats are just throwing trillions of dollars against the wall with the hope something sticks. They have no strategy or plan for any of this!

Stephen Russell
2 days ago

EV issues:

Black/Brownouts
Lack Charging centers
Crowded charging centers
Charging time
Low charge on road in traffic
No Road Service
Range
Special tires
Replace battery pack
Catch fire when charging?

Yes Ill rent 1 BUT if had one Id use for Local errands

Jeb
2 days ago

Has anyone checked into the rewiring of your home to accommodate an EV price tag? What if you live in an apartment, who provides what? What if you own more than one EV can your house’s wiring system handle that? Lots of unanswered expensive questions.

RC100
2 days ago
Reply to  Jeb

No. Tough. No.

PaulE
2 days ago
Reply to  Jeb

Well Jeb, as part of my cost analysis of the what a typical EV would cost the average consumer, I did research the all the costs associated with putting in the necessary 240 volt deicated line, the charging unit compatible with your particular EV brand, the potential upgrade of the entire home electrical service shoud you live in an older home with inadequate electrical service to accommodate a 240 volt line or home charger, etc.. Depending on the area of the country you live in, the cost runs in the range of $5,000 to $12,000 to charge one EV over-night in your home. I confirmed these numbers with several friends who bought EVs as a second, third or forth car for the family. They only use their EVs for driving around town and short commutes, because of the amount of time to recharge their cars on longer trips (lots of wasted time waiting around for the charge to be complete) and having to plan their routes to include locations where fast charging stations they can used.

A full charging cycle typically requires 8 hours to complete in most model EVs on the market, when they are near zero power left. So you should be prepared for a nice bump up in your monthly electric bill. Then again, most EV buyers own these things as status symbols to show how “virtuous” they are about climate change. They also typically make well over $250K a year, so the cost of owning an EV really doesn’t concern them,

If you want to go the fast charge route, you can usually do that in a few hours at 80 percent total charge. Of course you are drawing more power faster and that will cost you more. Fast charging also shortens the lifespan of your vehicle’s battery pack. The cost of a replacement battery pack, should your current one no longer hold a full charge properly costs anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 depending on the model of EV you have.

If you own two EVs, the cost goes up quite a bit for home charging, because you likely will need to upgrade the electrical service coming from the street to your home, if it is even available as an option in your particular area. Then there is the cost of a likely second breaker box and cabling from the street to your home.

If you live in an apartment or condo, then you either have to deal with fighting for the limited number of chargers your condo association has put in (which you have already paid for through condo assessment fees) or hunt around for public chargers in your immediate area. EVs really are targeted at renters, as the Greenies envision the typical urban dweller will use mass transit 99.9 percent of the time.

Hopes this info was helpful in explaining the cost of “going green” with an EV. Enjoy.

Jeb
2 days ago
Reply to  PaulE

Thank you. I have zero intention of ever owning one. You addressed my point that it involves a whole lot more than just purchasing one, driving it home and plugging it into the porch or garage outlet…which I believe is what way to many think.

PaulE
2 days ago
Reply to  Jeb

You’re welcome. You can charge an EV just off of plugging it into a regular 120 volt outlet, but it would take several days to fully charge up your battery. One of my friends wanted to see how well an over night charging just off a regular outlet worked. He plugged the car in at 6 p.m. and left it over night. By 8 a.m. thr next morning, the car battery had been charged 3 percent. That’s 14 hours to charge a total of 3 percent off a regular 120 volt outlet. Do the math to see how many days of non-stop charging you would need to leave the EV car plugged in to fully charge the battery pack from zero to 100 percent off of a regular 120 volt outlet.

In reality, the Greenies don’t really expect most people to buy an EV and go through all the expense of being able to charge them from home. That’s the little thing almost no one talks about when they discuss the big push for EVs. We would need a national energy grid capable of generating 100 times our current total electrical output capacity just to handle everyone plugging in tens of millions of EVs every night to be recharged for the next day. That would be an expense measured in 10s of trillions of dollars in capital expeditures.

EVs are essentially expensive toys for the well to do, that can afford multiple cars and a lifestyle most people can’t relate to. The Greenies just want the governments of the world to just ban all the existing gasoline and diesel fueled vehicles off the roads and force people into living in large urban centers where mass transit is the common form of transportation. Climate change is but one facet of a multi-pronged plan to re-engineer human society towards a much different lifestyle than most would freely accept if given a choice. The climate change agenda merely encapsulates a lot of socialist ideals into a nice “socially progressive, emergency crisis that must be addressed now” wrapper.

The left has always had a thing for the so-called megacity urban model for society. It’s far easier to control and manipulate a population that is centrally located within the confines of maybe 20 or 30 super cities in a country, than having people free to make their own choices on so many different aspects of life and be allowed to travel freely anywhere.

Jeb
2 days ago
Reply to  PaulE

Thanks for taking to time to share. Wish more people would.

Kevin
1 day ago
Reply to  PaulE

One other factor on the technical side of the coin is the amount of energy we generate. If one looks at the amount of energy used by EV chargers and compare that to the amount of energy sold by utilities in 2020, one will see that 1/3 of the nations energy output would go to EV charging. That takes it away from other uses.

Natural gas is considered ‘evil’ today, just as coal was vilified a few years ago. So, many cities are now banning new gas connections. Thus, electric energy consumption will increase. Natural gas generation facilities will not get permits to expand or otherwise increase electric energy generation. Residential PV is not enough to overcome the deficit. Therefore, energy rationing will occur.

All of this is intentional to achieve the goal of the energy policy folks. They do not like that US is a 1st world nation. In their view, we need to experience what it is like to live in a 3rd world nation. We ‘need’ to suffer. My simple to response to all of this is: “Hmm. You first.”

PaulE
2 days ago
Reply to  Jeb

I answered you questions regarding cost, but the glorious AMAC censor decided to give me the old “Awaiting for approval” block. I didn’t realize simply spelling out the cost of owning an EV was something AMAC considered off limits. Go figure huh?

Jeb
2 days ago
Reply to  PaulE

I got put on awaiting approval on another question, but expected that as I was rather blunt. Surprisingly it was approved.

Rik
2 days ago

When residents of China, Russia, India and England/Europe buy and drive them, then of course, I will too!

PaulE
2 days ago

There are literally dozens of reasons why transitioning from ICE to EV vehicles makes no economic, environmental, technological or national security sense. There is no sense listing them all here, because most people aren’t into that level of detail. Suffice it to say that the biggest long-term benficiary of the world going 100 percent EV would be China hands down. The biggest losers would be the United States, western Europe and most advanced Asian countries not under China’s control.

The vast majority of career politicians are lawyers. Their skill set consists of arguing issues, deflecting answering of straight-forward questions and writing overly complex bills, that end up being enacted into law. Their knowledge and competency of economics, technology and national security matters are minimal at best, as evidenced every time Congress or the White House brings in various leaders from the private sector for either interrogation (congressional hearings or brow beatings by the WH) or a glorified photo op. It’s like having Elon Musk come in to discuss the detailed design specifications of a Tesla car with a 5 year old. It’s like having Peter Thiel come in to discuss the economic complexities of the economy with that same 5 year old. It’s in one ear and out the other with no real understanding by the 5 year old. The politicians all walk away as ignorant on the issue as they were beforehand and they then read a prepared little speech about “how things will be changed” blah, blah, blah.

This isn’t just a U.S. problem by the way. Career politicians around the world are making massive multi-generational decisions on subjects they are completely unqualified to understand or intelligently deal with. Some major donors or their staff tells them that XYZ is a big, hot issue and that they should have a position on it. All so they can leverage the issue for votes down the road. All most politicians understand is “Take position on XYZ issue and line up votes for next re-election”. That’s the depth of their understanding or concern.

When I read articles like the one above, what I don’t see is any acknowledgement of is that most career politicians are completely out of their depth in either truly understanding the issues involved or coming to the correct solution to the problem in front of them. Expecting Congress to “come to its senses” is wishful thinking at best and just spitting into the wind at worst. The way to get the attention of Congress is by being in their face at every opportunity and voicing a specific item in an intelligent fashion. Be brief, concise and direct. They hate pushback of any kind, because it means potentially losing votes for their re-election and then losing their cushy congressional seats. Writing letters and making phones calls is a non-starter in 2022. They are all handled by junior staffers reading off of prepared scripts unless you are a major donor talking about writing a fresh 5 or 6 figure check to the politician’s campaign fund. The point is you have to do more that just hope members of Congress “come to their senses”. If you’re unwilling to do that, then just get used to what will be a very painful and expensive future controlled by the CCP.

Max
2 days ago
Reply to  PaulE

Amen.

Hal
2 days ago

The most likely inference about “electric” cars are best is that there is a strong group of politicos that have a heavy investment in electric cars.

ops
2 days ago
Reply to  Hal

A recent story of a woman driving a EV vehicle ran out juice and resulted in an expensive tow charge to the charging station. Wonderful. The number one producer of EV batteries and solar panels is China. Just one more rope to hang ourselves in helping China become number one militarily and economically. All about the buck!!

edward
2 days ago
Reply to  Hal

their “investment” is in the power grid, analogous to rockefeller when oil was just getting going and he was able get the monopoly on oil/gas before the government took standard apart. the difference is that rockefeller didn’t tell the feds to make it illegal to harness wild horses for domestic use and force people to buy his product. In the beginning only wealthy people could afford cars and petrol. it took standard oil working to reduce the cost to refine oil to gas and people like henry ford to make affordable cars before the working class(rubes to todays billionaire class) could afford to buy cars and gas. until then, people stayed with horses or foot power. today’s ruling class doesn’t want to wait for that to happen, they want our money now so have the govt forcing us to buy their product.
you wonder why billionaires are backing communism(democrats) today? they dont believe in capitalism because they actually have to earn “the peoples business”. it’s called transfer of wealth and their are “useful idiots” that cannt see this.

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