Who's your daddy?
Capitalism, freedom and the American Dream are being destroyed by special interests. If citizen-consumers are not free to choose what to buy and use to improve their own lives, how free are theY really? When government steps in to favor one company (crony capitalism) in the marketplace, the impact to the rest of us is a limit on what we can do with our lives.
Our choices are being limited to a select few government-approved companies and goods rather than allowing a plethora of products and ideas to compete for our approval. In the marketplace. If choices are artificially curtailed this time, what else might have come to market that was, is and will be discouraged by government favoritism, and how will you know what you have lost?
Any voting that takes place on what products and ideas should survive, ought to be done by citizen-consumers who do the voting with their own hard-earned property (money).
O say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave,
O're the land of the free, and the home of the brave?
WSJ. September 13, 2017. By The Editorial Board
Solar Power Death Wish
Subsidies aren’t enough. Now solar-panel makers want tariffs.
Billions of dollars in tax-payer subsidies haven’t made the U.S. solar industry competitive, and now two companies want to make it even less so. Suniva Inc., a bankrupt solar-panel maker, and German-owned SolarWorld Ameri-cas have petitioned the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to impose tariffs on foreign-made crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells.
Solar cells in the U.S. sell for around 27 cents a watt. The petitioners want to add a new duty of 40 cents a watt. They also want a floor price for imported panels of 78 cents a watt versus the market price of 37 cents. In other words, they want the government to double the cost of the main component used in the U.S. solar industry. Solar electricity prices could rise by some 30% if the ITC says they’ve been injured by foreign competition—a decision is due by Sept. 22—and the Trump Administration goes along with the tariff request.
U.S. manufacturers won countervailing and an-tidumping duties against imports from China and Taiwan in 2012 and in 2015. But now they’re resorting to Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974 because they don’t need to show they are victims of dumping or foreign government subsidies. They only need to show that imports have harmed them.
The harm is real but that’s due to changes in the marketplace. The U.S. solar industry has discovered that its comparative advantage lies not in making panels, a basic product, but in adding value to imported cells and modules. This involves making and installing racking or framing systems and incorporating innovations like trackers that orient toward the sun.
To turn sunshine into energy requires inverters that translate the energy captured on a solar panel into something that can be sent on the electrical grid. While there are fewer than 1,000 jobs in U.S. panel manufacturing, some 260,000 jobs rely on access to imported panels.
Higher prices for panels will also hurt utilities that have invested in renewable fuels. In an August 21 letter to the ITC, Diane Denton of Duke Energy wrote that over the last five years Duke has invested heavily in solar and has plans for more. But Duke needs “access to solar CSPV modules at globally-competitive prices” so it can “provide cost-competitive solar power to our customers,” Ms. Denton wrote.
The ITC hasn’t investigated a 201 trade case since the Bush Administration slapped a 30% tariff on steel imports in 2002. That fiasco cost an estimated 200,000 jobs in U.S. steel-consuming industries before the Administration dropped the tariffs 18 months later.
Solar tariffs would be another destructive exercise that benefits a handful of Suniva and SolarWorld investors at the expense of everyone else—including the rest of the solar industry. This is protectionism at its worst.