FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
For Some Republicans, Free Markets are Gone With the Wind
One of the most appalling features of Obama’s presidency is the expansion of green venture socialism on behalf of corporate cronies who helped finance his campaign. Obama’s use of stimulus funds to distort the energy market with subsidies and loans to unprofitable solar energy companies has become the hallmark of his presidency, and it has theoretically provided us with a potent political weapon. Yet for some reason a bunch of Republicans – many of whom reside in red states – are doing the same thing on behalf of Big Wind. Has anyone explained why picking Solar as a winner is liberal, while picking Wind is conservative?
In the House, there are 20 cosponsors of a bill (H.R. 3307) to extend the refundable 2.2 cent/per kilowatt-hour Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind companies, most of which generate little revenue and pay no taxes. While we should never emulate the Democrats and support government preferences for green energy, it is even more insane given that we have already pumped in billions to the wind industry, yet it has still failed to stand on its own merits. In fact, a new report shows that they lost 9,000 jobs in 2009.
Now we find out that many of these wind supporters have received campaign donations from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the most vocal supporter of the PTC. This, from Politico:
This time around, Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) was the biggest winner in AWEA donations, landing $7,500 from the group’s WindPAC. Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Dean Heller of Nevada and Olympia Snowe of Maine all received $5,000. Reichert and Grassley are leading efforts among Republicans in their respective chambers to extend the production tax credit for wind, which expires at the end of 2012.
WindPAC’s donations to Snowe’s campaign were made before she announced in February she would not seek reelection.
Other GOP recipients include Reps. Rick Berg of North Dakota and Tim Griffin of Arkansas, as well as the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
Other members who represent red districts and received support from the AWEA include Kristi Noem, Kevin McCarthy, Doc Hastings, and Charles Boustany. Red state Senators who received backing from them include John Thune, Orrin Hatch, Richard Lugar, and Lindsey Graham.
The reason why I’m spotlighting the red states and districts is very simple. The blue states are already incorrigibly dependent upon big-government statism due to the urban/labor/welfare complex. If we are ever going to elect a conservative majority within the Republican Party, much less in the Congress at large, we will need to elect free-market conservatives from the red states. Unfortunately, we have scores of elected Republicans from these districts who not only support rural dependency in the form of wind, ethanol, and farm subsidies, they work in tandem with local special interests to foster that inveterate dependency on government, thereby precluding us from ever electing conservatives….in red states! One of those red state statists, Rick Berg, is seeking a promotion to the Senate.
Folks, headed into the November elections, one of our most effective arguments we have is to tar the Democrats with the Solyndra economy –an economy where the government intervenes to pick winners and losers, at the detriment of consumers and taxpayers. How can we effectively articulate an alternative free-market vision when we are fielding candidates and representatives who are in favor of similar ventures when it suits their interests?
Democrats have championed special interest venture socialism for years. Is it too much to ask that our members from Republican districts not emulate them?