This is a question that comes up with the production tax credit and the wind industry all the time. To hear these people whine, it is obvious they have never ran any business not funded by taking money from people who work for a living and giving it to a business so the business has no risk. Talk about Mitt Romney being out of touch….
Say you own the local dry cleaners. Now, let’s say that the economy in your town is based on offshore drilling. And, further, let’s pretend that a certain president decides to stop issuing permits for offshore drilling. Suddenly, there are very few jobs and people start moving away. Does Congress, on a white horse, come riding in with bags of money and pay you to stay in business even if there are no clothes to dry clean? Of course not. Yet that is what the wind industry actually thinks is the way business works. The government mandates that your business is necessary, passes regulations that require people to buy your product whether they want it or not and then pays your business to deliver a product people get no benefit from so your half a dozen employees don’t lose their jobs.
Admittedly, from the perspective of the Wind people, this is a SWEET deal. Other people pay you for something they don’t want or benefit from and you, Wind, make huge profits. To be honest, though, much of wind earnings go to companies that already make billions in oil, nuclear and natural gas. Most assuredly, these companies do know this is not the way business actually works. However, in what is sadly becoming the American way, if you can forceably extract money from others rather than have to compete on a level playing field like our fictional dry cleaner did, these companies lap up the “free” money while they can get it. (One executive in nuclear has recommended market forces be introduced to Wind via the end of subsidies. This would be a good thing.)
What we have in the wind industry is a gravy train of tax money and little business risk. When a company actually asks “How can you plan from year to year when your government handout might be cut off” (okay, hand out is my term, but it’s accurate), this is NOT a business. It’s a money sink for those in that industry and a money drain on those who pay for the business. It is rewards for the tiny few taken from the majority who never benefit.
How can wind survive like that? Maybe ask the dry cleaner when he figures out where to go when he doesn’t get Wind’s super sweet deal. Or maybe not–he’s busy starting another business on his own with his own wits and hard work………