The age old expression "money doesn't grow on trees" is clearly lost on most politicians. People in Washington spend our taxpayer money like it does grow on trees. The Daily Caller reports, "Green energy was a beneficiary" in the rushed fiscal cliff deal that passed the House January 1.
This is not a surprise, though, since President Obama has wanted this all along, a point he made clear in his post-deal victory speech that "companies will continue to receive tax credits for... the clean energy jobs that they create."
Well, Obama and the spendthrifts in Congress got their way, but who will this help? Certainly not consumers and taxpayers.
The Joint Committee on Taxation reported that the wind industry got its production tax credit extended for one year, to the tune of $12.1 billion. And the wind industry doesn't have to have even BEGIN producing electricity to get our money! Heritage's Nic Loris and Katie Tubb explain:
Thanks to the new bill, wind and other renewable energy projects can receive the tax credit simply by starting construction by 2013, rather than once they begin generating electricity, as the law originally specified.
Geothermal and biomass energy will also "benefit" from the deal.
Well, the folks in those industries will benefit, but American taxpayers won't.
Interestingly, Rob Gramlisch, the American Wind Energy Association's interim CEO said in a statement, "Now we can continue to provide America with more clean, affordable, homegrown energy and keep growing a new manufacturing sector that's not making nearly 70 percent of our wind turbines in the U.S.A."
THINK about that statement. "Now" we can "continue" to provide America with more "affordable" energy?! Let's break this down. If they can only do so "now" that the tax payers are paying them to provide us with energy, it's undoes the whole "affordable" part.
And "continue?" These industries have yet to prove they are able to operate independently in the free market. So, as far as I can see, the only thing they're "continuing" is robbing taxpayers.
If the wind farms were truly economically competitive, they should be financeable without the generous support of taxpayers. Rather than innovating to lower the cost of their power, companies spend more financial and human resources lobbying to receive these extensions.
The bottom line, as Loris and Tubb explained, is this:
The inclusion of these targeted tax breaks is a clear indication that Congress is not serious about (1) reducing spending, (2) ending the government's meddling in the energy sector, or (3) standing up against political interests.
The biggest wind energy purchaser in the country may sever ties with the industry's largest trade group in the wake of a bitter fight to sustain subsidies for wind energy producers that, the company says, benefit producers at the expense of utilities and electricity consumers.
They've got that right. Consumers definitely don't benefit from these deals. To be clear, conservatives are consistent on these principles:
Regardless of whether subsidies go to wind, nuclear, or coal, subsidies distort prices by disguising the costs of certain energy choices while exacerbating the costs of others.
Wake up and smell the coffee, Congress! We don't want our money wasted any more.