Since the Affordable Health Care Act’s passage, the Obama administration has been a three-record jukebox: “Tax the Rich,” “Save the Unions” and “Green Economy.” The first two selections are broken records, stuck on “Pass this bill now.” The last is just stuck on stupid. Its main defect is the current administration’s methodology. The evidence is the Solyndra scandal.
Instead of relying on the free market to move us naturally toward green energy, the Obama administration blindly follows Europe’s lead by pushing government-backed loans and subsidies. Previous administrations did this, but not to the extent that the current one does. “Green jobs” and “green energy” are the Obama administration’s mantras, as it ignores Europe’s own green agenda’s failure. Spain lost 2.2 jobs for every green job it created, and only one in 10 were permanent. According to Gabriel Salzada Alvarez, Associate Professor of economics at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (King Juan Carlos University) in Madrid, the program was an “absolute nightmare.” We nonetheless marched mindlessly on, like the Pied Piper’s children, even after Germany admonished that we not repeat its green disaster.
After rejecting Germany’s warning, Evergreen Solar accepted stimulus money and then moved 800 jobs to China. The city of Seattle used $20 million in stimulus funds to create a paltry 14 “green” jobs.
One commentator opined, “It’s a tough economy for green technology.” He totally missed the point. The economy has nothing to do with it. It all comes down to need. Necessity being the mother of invention, so long as we have abundant reserves of coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy, we don’t need renewable energy. It will come, but it will come from private enterprise, on its own and when the need truly arises.
The Encyclopedia Britannica lists over 300 of the world’s greatest inventions, and with the exception of coinage and thermonuclear devices, they all have two things in common: They were the product of individual initiative, and none of the inventors received a dime of public funds.
An inventive nature defines the human spirit. Government can neither stifle that nature nor speed its growth. It can only create an atmosphere where it can naturally thrive. More than that, competition makes everything better. Using computers as an example, Macs compete with PCs, and PC manufacturers compete among themselves. As a result, the products steadily become faster, cheaper and more reliable. Subsidies put a lid on competition by artificially choosing industry winners and losers instead of allowing the marketplace to fill that role naturally.
There’s no question that renewable, “green” energy is a worthwhile, even noble goal. But it won’t be met simply because the government wills it. When government subsidizes the manufacture of a product, industry has no incentive to make it affordable, or even desirable. Subsidies reward failure; competition rewards success.
Thomas Edison once said, “Genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration.” We’re all inspired by the prospect of affordable, green energy. Money, however, is no substitute for Edison’s perspiration.
Apart from the crime, cronyism and corruption surrounding the Solyndra affair, it was also elevated to scandal status because the Obama administration obstinately believed that renewable energy was attainable if we just threw enough money at it. We would have been far better off had we simply allowed the free market to do its job — and we would have been a half-billion dollars richer in the process.
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