Mike Munger nailed this issue last week. Solar panels are supposed to be about providing clean energy, not make-work jobs to keep idle hands busy. So why did the Commerce Department recently announce an upcoming tariff on Chinese solar panels?
As I wrote back in September when U.S. Rep. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) was beating the same war drums:
This is the kind of garbage you get when you put economic illiterates in positions of power. Wyden is just the latest in a long line of fools who say they want Americans to use environmentally-friendly energy sources, but when Chinese tax payers offer to pay part of the bill, these so-called environmentalists spaz out and threaten to place higher taxes on American consumers.Solar panels are being implemented recklessly. They cause pollution when they are manufactured and break down within a few decades. Some of the regions they are put in aren't particularly sunny, so they never provide much electricity. It's a technology with a lot of potential, but installing them now is like spreading frosting on cake batter.
But Munger doesn't think any of that matters. He submits that solar panels are not about generating electricity.
This is not an environmental policy at all. It is an industrial policy (thinly) disguised as an environmental policy. We have decided that US corporations need to receive lots of extra dollars from consumers, and from taxpayers, so they will have enough cash to contribute to the Obama reelection campaign.Is he right? It depends on one's perspective. From the view of the ordinary people I know who support solar, they really are motivated by environmentalist pipe dreams. However, from the perspective of the dark crypts of Washington DC, I think Munger's view is correct.
Remember loyal reader, there are Baptists who want to do well, but there's usually a few bootleggers hiding behind them pushing them along.