Call ‘em the Odd Couple. Barack Obama and Chris Christie. Or call ‘em Laurel and Hardy. Whichever you’d prefer. If you think of the economy in terms of the track, the two are like old rail-bird buddies desperately cheering on a looooooong shot.
If we may press on with the economy metaphor for a quarter-furlong or so, the long shot – named “Hope” – stumbled coming out of the gate and is lagging waaaaay back in the field. But Obama is counting on Hope to surge going into the stretch. As is his rail-bird buddy Christie. Obama’s reelection is riding on the bet. And so is Christie’s state budget. The Guv’s bet everything that a surge going down the stretch will yield enough revenues to put the books in order.
Looking doubtful, however. Even Democrats in the Jersey statehouse, always up for a sucker bet, balk at putting any money down on Hope, even to show. The Odd Couple are in this one by themselves.
The track isn’t the sole wagering enticement that brings the Odd Couple together, however. Both are eager to be included in the green action.
You’ll recall that Obama went all in with tax dollars on a sure-thing called Solydnra out in sunny Cal. A solar-energy enterprise, Solyndra promptly proceeded to take a $500-million nosedive.
That, though, hasn’t scared Obama off the green action. Nor his rail-bird buddy Christie, either. Which is not to suggest they’re the only suckers in town.
Twenty-nine states have now made losing green-energy bets, adopting mandatory hikes in renewable-energy production that have had the effect of driving up eletricity rates an average 32 percent. Being a far more costly source of energy than, say, natural gas, “renewables” like wind turbines and solar panels need public assistance. Welfare, if you’d like to put it that way. They need subsidies, grants and other government deals.
Of course, it’s possible that one of these days there’ll be an epochal technological breakthrough to make such energy sources fantastically efficient and cheap. But then again, government welfare (or whatever you may wish to call it) practically guarantees that to the extent the wind-turbine and solar-panel hustlers can count on government handouts to tide them over, they’re all that less likely to bust their entrepreneurial humps to attain such a technological breakthrough. The corporate welfare makes it a good bet, if you’re the wagering type, that these ventures will be losers. The dynamics of government welfare, whether individual or corporate, seem pretty much the same.
In any event, the heftier half of the Odd Couple recently inked legislation upping the ante on the state’s green wager. The legislation requires energy-producers to obtain more of their product from renewable (i.e., more expensive) sources.
And the other day, Christie showed up at a big gambling spot in Hackensack, a PSE&G solar site, where the giant utility hopes to up the solar wager with an $830-million-or-so expansion – with ratepayers covering the bet. Another sure thing – as the string-bean half of the Odd Couple would surely agree.
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