A Free-Market Energy Blog

Wind Cronyism Wins; We Lose

By -- December 17, 2015

After all the drama in this end-of-year self-generated fiscal crisis, Congressional negotiators struck a deal on the omnibus spending and tax extender bills. In a nutshell – the democrats won, the republicans caved and the rest of us were screwed – unless, of course, you’re in big wind’s camp. In that case, you’re probably stunned at how much Congress is willing to give of taxpayer money so it can go home for the holidays.

Meaningless Gesture

After two weeks of bluster from both sides claiming the renewable tax credits posed the greatest obstacle to reaching agreement, we now know there was no debate at all. The wind industry secured its prized 2-year, $10 billion extension promised by the Senate Finance Committee with no questions asked. To appease the thousands of taxpayers who pleaded for the wind PTC to end, the backroom, spineless negotiators added phase-out language that would lower the credit in annual 20% increments after 2016.

The phase-out might sound reasonable but it’s meaningless and no different had the House agreed to the 2-year extension with no phase out. This time next year, big wind’s army of lobbyists will descend on Congress once again with a slightly modified ask i.e. to delay the phase-out reduction for a year, and another and another after that. We’ve all seen the movie before and the ending never changes. If the bill passes as written, the now 23-year old subsidy would be, in essence, a permanent subsidy.

Standalone Vote

Speaker Ryan called the deal a compromise born out of divided government. He’s asked his party to support the bill and let Congress close out 2015 with the promise that Republicans would do better in 2016. Those are nice words, but embarrassingly self-centered. The voters are done waiting for Congress to do better. We expect Ryan and the other members to do their job, understand the consequences of their actions and stay in Washington until they come up with something better. If that’s not possible then don’t bother coming home to their districts.

At the very least, there is still one more action that the Republican leadership can do that might quell the masses. Paul Ryan should work with the House rules committee to mandate a standalone vote on the House floor for the renewable credits portions of the bills. If our representatives are willing to ram big wind’s costs down our throats, the voters deserve to know the names of every congressperson supporting this subsidy-fest.


  1. Chris Hodgdon  

    It is clear now that the republicans do not want to do better. They have the votes now to do what they want and this mess is what they want.


  2. Tom Tanton  

    “Compromise, hell! … If freedom is right and tyranny is wrong, why should those who believe in freedom treat it as if it were a roll of bologna to be bartered a slice at a time?” Sen. Jesse Helms.
    Paul Ryan utterly FAILS in his first act.


  3. Charles R. Anderson  

    Good government requires representatives who have good principles, which primarily means a commitment to individual rights, and who have accurate knowledge. Both are missing in all but a few politicians.

    As a physicist, I have explained over and over why carbon dioxide does not cause any significant warming. It is not a pollutant. With the present technology to economically develop many oil and gas deposits, there is no reason to turn to expensive and unreliable energy sources such as wind. Making people do so will only cost jobs, lower our standard of living, and reduce the growth of the economy. The effects of a reduced and compounded growth rate for the economy will cause the USA to have huge future reductions in standard of living compared to what we could have had and will eliminate many future technology and health care innovations. That damage to our future standard of living will cost us many lives, much misery, and the loss of many other advances to enrich our lives.


  4. Mary Kay Barton  

    Financially-motivated crooks in high places are ruining the country for the biggest scam to ever be perpetrated on the environment, taxpayers and ratepayers world-wide. They all belong in jail.


  5. James Rust  

    Maybe members of Congress should be taught a few lessons when they come home like was done to members of the House over the Waxman-Markey bill in August 2009.

    James H. Rust, professor of nuclear engineering


  6. Jim Wiegand- Wildlife Biologist  

    There is a big difference between winning and rigging the game. These crooked bast**ds did not win a thing. But they did rob the United States Department of the Treasury.


  7. Ronald Walter  

    The American Politboro is just doing its job and fully intends to make sure you always pay through the nose.

    Americans now exist in The Pale.


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