What’s wrong with Her Majesty Queen Hillary I’s proposed energy policy? Well, her solar panel idea is well to the left of stupid. Excerpt:
In a YouTube video released over the weekend, the leading Democratic candidate for president, Hillary Clinton, announced that “on day one as president,” she would set “two ambitious national goals that will test our capacities.” Said Clinton, “First, I will ensure we hit a target of having more than half a billion solar panels installed across the country by the end of my first term.” You don’t even have to wait for “ambitious national goal” number two to slap your forehead and roll your eyes at this example of top-down central planning at its worst.
Clinton assumes that man-made climate change is a risk serious enough to try to mitigate, and that America should try to mitigate it by reducing its carbon emissions. These are big “ifs,” but ones I will grant for argument’s sake. Even granting those assumptions, there is a humongous logical leap to the conclusion that the appropriate policy response is setting a national target for the number of solar panels installed.
For one thing, it’s a classic error of measuring inputs rather than outputs. If the goal is the reduction of dangerous emissions, why not set a goal for that, and support any energy method—solar, wind, algae, hydroelectric, nuclear, hydrofracturing—that gets America closer to that goal? Why privilege solar over all the other technologies, including some that may not even be invented yet?
Because it’s a reasonable talking point, if you’re trying to appeal to irrational lefties. Half a billion solar panels? Seriously? At whose expense?
So where will this subsidy come from? A tax on coal, oil and natural gas? Her Highness has a history of adhering to the First Law of Big Government: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it. Solar isn’t moving at the moment (remember Solyndra?) so Her Highness proposes, after her coronation, to force it.
A more reasonable person would anticipate that the markets would work better; if the technology in solar power ever proves economically viable, then it will be adopted by people freely. There’s no good argument for government to force the decision.
Failure is part of free enterprise, of course. But where’s the justice in taxing some scientist working on some other energy technology to subsidize the solar competition? If Clinton really wants to fight climate change or cut carbon emissions, there are plenty of ways to go about it. She could fund research and development for battery storage. She could set emissions goals and let utilities or states decide the cheapest and best ways to meet them. She could allow more hydrofracturing that replaces coal-fired plants with cleaner oil and natural gas. But counting solar panels? Come on, Clinton. Get serious.
Serious? In a political campaign? Surely you jest.
Look for similar liberty-crushing proposals across the economic spectrum. The big concern is this: Hillary Clinton is far from the only pol (in either party, for that matter) to think that she knows better than you, and that she should make economic decisions for you. After all, it’s for your own good!
Few more chilling words were ever spoken by a politician.