In a nod to their big oil sponsors, Fox News is trotting out a new research paper from the conservative think tank, Citizens Against Government Waste. In an online report, they cited the CAGW stating that solar subsidies were too high, and that solar energies promise to the nation had gone unfulfilled and should be abandoned as, without subsidies, the industry will falter.
They go on and spout a bunch of gibberish about how with all the subsidies there has been an appalling lack of oversight that has led to lower costs, which has lead to massive waste, fraud, and mismanagement. Of course, they have to trot out their favorite solar failure at this point, Solyndra, which actually accounts for the majority of all of their waste, fraud and mismanagement.
Oddly enough, they didn’t seem to put the same sort of effort into ridiculing other forms of energy or seeing if they survived off of subsidies. No, all they wanted to do was say that from 2004 to 2015 solar subsidies were $13.7 billion. I’m guessing it’s 2015 because they completely messed up the second date in their article. Well, if we look simply at oil and not any other type of energy in this country, that seems like a paltry sum. On average they generally receive $4.5 billion a year. Over 11 years, why that’s $489.5 billion. That’s just a tad higher than solar subsidies, I think, especially for the most profitable energy source in the world.
We could go a step further here. We could include tax breaks. We could also include all those subsidies they get for exploration and development from our government. Some estimates put that totality as high as $52 billion a year. Again this is for the most profitable energy source in the world. Now, I suppose we know why!
It’s hard to make a dent in the energy market when you are only bringing in a measly $13.7 billion compared to that, or just over $1 billion a year to break it down. However, that’s not the only obstacle standing in the way of those poor little solar power people. You have all those oil lobbyists in Washington and in state houses who are now allowed to throw tons of money into Republican campaigns to keep those ugly solar panels away from their glorious oil derricks.
In the post-Citizens United era, big oil has been willing to throw large wads of cash at any politician who wants to support them. In 2012, Chevron gave $2.5 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super-PAC dedicated to expanding the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. And of course, oil companies have spared no expense in setting up “issue ads” during campaigns to target politicians, especially President Obama during 2012. They can funnel unlimited amounts of cash anonymously to such ad campaigns, as long as they aren’t coordinating with a candidate.
In one final note let’s look at why Fox always wants to bring up Solyndra. Yes, it’s a failed business. So what? Businesses fail all the time because of bad management and lying corporate heads. Why should we be so stupid as to base the entire solar energy sector on one company’s bad performance? Would electric companies like it if they were all judged by the way Enron did business? How about if we lump all oil companies together and judge them based upon the way British Petroleum handled the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? Lots of marine life was killed there. So many people are still suffering because their way of life has been destroyed. Is that a fair analogy for you?