Any idea that’s good in theory but not good in practice is not a good idea. And our newly re-elected governor is full of good ‘in theory only’ ideas.
On a frigid spring day in 2008, Gov. Deval Patrick proudly stepped to a podium in front of the Massachusetts news media and announced that he would be delivering $58 million of our money to a company called Evergreen Solar in hopes of combating the nonexistent problem of climate change, i.e. global warming. Evergreen Solar is a company that manufactures solar panels using what they call “string ribbon” technology, which supposedly uses less silicon in the solar panel’s production. The money would be used to help expand the business by constructing a manufacturing plant in Devens.
In trying to keep his comments short because the cold weather had numbed his fingers, the governor said the $58 million package was awarded to Evergreen Solar because “we wanted to show that there are ways in which state government, in working together with private industry and with the utility companies, could begin to create a different kind of environment, a different kind of business climate here, to grow that sector. And it is happening.” Said the governor: “It is a part of what we must do to grow our economy and save the planet.”
“A different kind of business climate” is right. Evidently, the governor thought that the free market was not producing “green jobs” fast enough, so government had to step in and take matters into its own hands. This money was doomed to evaporate from the start because his fundamental views of successful business models and the role government has with them are flawed.
What Republicans have been calling wasteful, government spending, Democrats have been calling investments. So, what is the return on our $58 million dollar “investment” designed to create jobs and save the planet? Zero. Evergreen’s plant in Devens will be closing and moving to China, and 800 more people will be left without a job. That’s $58 million and nothing to show for it. And these are the people who want to manage more of your health care, your retirement and your education.
Evergreen had complained that they could not compete with Chinese manufacturers’ prices because the Chinese government heavily subsidizes them. In other words, if the Massachusetts taxpayer had ponied up more than a mere $58 million, Evergreen might not be in this situation. Which means that this is your fault. Of course, according to figures in the Wall Street Journal, if we had given them 10 times that amount, there would still be more than $100 million in cumulative losses on the company’s books. Patrick “invested” $58 million in a company that had already lost over $680 million.
Here’s the point: The idea that government can create so-called green jobs, causing such enterprises to thrive in the private sector of a free-market economy, is an idea that simply does not work.
The government is openly embracing so-called “alternative” sources of energy at the expense of tried and true and reliable energy sources such as oil, gasoline, coal, diesel fuel, propane and natural gas. Despite overtly discouraging and burdensome regulations, confiscatory taxes, excessive fees and shamefully derogatory marketing campaigns against them, industries dealing in these sources of energy still remain productive and, much to the liberals’ chagrin, profitable.
Alternative sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, corn, soy, moon beams and gummi bears, with the full financial and regulatory support of the local, state and federal governments, are still incapable of staying in business because people in a free market society simply do not want to use them because there is no need to do so. The technologies are expensive, not readily available and, thus, not cost efficient. It is easier to replace an igniter on your oil burner than a fin on your wind turbine. The internal combustion engine in your car is considerably less expensive, much more powerful and easier to fix than that hybrid or electric motor. Eat corn. Burn gasoline. Save money.
Governor Patrick sat on this until after the election and will not pay a political price for his ineptitude in this farce. There will be no talk of corruption, favoritism or malfeasance. Had Evergreen Solar been Evergreen Petroleum, impeachment proceedings would be underway, and Rick Feldt, Evergreen Solar CEO, would be under indictment. This will not be, however, and the left will judge the governor only by the beneficence of his intentions, not the results of his actions, no matter how bad an idea this was, in theory or in practice.
Republican State Committeeman Richard Greeley (2nd Plymouth and Bristol districts) also serves as vice chairman of the Halifax Republican Town Committee. Here’s the point appears every other week in the Reporter.
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