It seems that every year or so a matter of national urgency comes up for debate in Congress: a rather inexpensive incentive for the critical wind industry called the production tax credit. This incentive aids an industry that creates tens of thousands of US jobs even as it helps to mitigate the ongoing climate change crisis currently impacting the United States.
In all, the production tax credit cost the US government $1.6 billion last year. It paid that money back tenfold in new jobs created and in carbon emissions prevented. In short, this small sum is helping to solve the climate change crisis that this year may cost America as much as $100 billion from combined drought and other extreme weather damages even as it helps to solve our economic crisis.
Often, wind opponents argue that if wind must receive subsidies to expand, then it is not economically viable. But considering the fact that all major energy sources receive a degree of subsidies and incentives, this argument is, in itself, nonsensical.
Oil, for example, is a major beneficiary of US subsidies. And, for years, it has operated under the illusion of being an ‘economic energy source.’ Now, a decade of high prices has made a mockery of this claim. And over the same period, more than $40 billion has been spent in subsidies and incentives for this dirty, dangerous, and depleting oil. But high oil prices have managed to ensure one thing: that oil companies themselves end up making record profits. In this case, shoveling money at already highly profitable oil is like shoveling more fuel onto a climate change fire. Onto a depleting energy source that is bound to cost more and more as the years wear on. In essence, we are spending taxpayer money to damage our economy while simultaneously enriching the companies that do so.
Republicans in Congress, who seem determined to kill this tax credit for the wind industry should think on the job losses, and the further damage to America via the vehicle of climate change, such a repeal would cause. They should think on their often hollow claims of reverence to the spirit of freedom. One they are allowing the oil barons to crush through the force of political and market dominance. These same republicans have often given lip-service to job creation. Now they have a chance to allow an actual job creation measure to pass. Given past performance, one is not too hopeful this will occur. But should they block the production tax credit, they should pay for their failure. For they would harm America’s energy security, her ability to create jobs, and the climate security which is vital to maintaining her Agricultural prominence.