How much do solar, wind and electric vehicle companies get in federal handouts and tax loopholes in President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill? Well over $100 billion in taxpayer largesse. If all the tax credits are included, that number could reach half a trillion dollars. No other industry in American history has ever received this lucrative a paycheck.
The folks at the Institute for Energy Research calculated that this is on top of the more than $150 billion in subsidies these industries received from Uncle Sam in the last 30 years.
The umbilical cord to taxpayer wallets never gets cut. Yet, laughably, the left says all these subsidies to “green energy” are necessary for an “infant industry.” Really? Does Big Wind or Big Solar ever grow up? Incidentally, our ancestors were using windmills and solar panels during the Middle Ages.
So why do these renewable energies get so much money from Congress, and why do Democrats want to give them the biggest payday in the history of the Washington favor factory? Not because renewable has great promise. Thirty years after the handouts started, wind and solar accounted for less than 8% of our total energy production. It’s inconsequential.
If we taxpayers are “investors” in green energy, we’d be wondering where our return is at this point. Wind and solar costs are going down, but not nearly as fast as the cost reductions in natural gas, thanks to the shale revolution.
But now the left is trying to save its latest round of gargantuan welfare checks by arguing that the higher costs of oil and gas at the pump show that these energy sources prove that we can’t rely on fossil fuels.
It is reminiscent of the story of the boy who kills his parents and throws himself at the mercy of the court for being an orphan. Oil and gas prices are rising because Biden and the left have declared war on American fossil fuels. They aren’t allowing drilling. They instead are passing new “methane” taxes and not building pipelines.
Now liberals shake their fingers at the producers and accuse them of gouging consumers as they assault the added American oil and gas supply that would lower the prices to fill up your tank and heat your home. They are now starting a multimillion-dollar ad campaign in Washington, paid for by taxpayers, telling us that the high gas prices the Biden administration wants mean we have to stop using gas.
The irony of all of this is that the reliance on green energy subsidies is one good reason for so little technological progress in renewable energy. We’d perhaps see more innovation if the industry had to fight on a level playing field.
Democrats in Congress keep doling out the dollars because the green energy industry gives 90% of its contributions to Democrats. It is nothing more than a pay-to-play gambit.
If wind and solar are the low-cost energy sources of the future, why do they need so much government aid? Will they ever take the training wheels off?
After three decades, maybe it is time to admit the obvious: Wind and solar are niche energy sources that will not anytime soon, and probably never, provide anywhere near the energy we need for our $22 trillion industrial economy.
Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an economic consultant with FreedomWorks. He is the co-author of "Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive the American Economy." To find out more about Stephen Moore and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.