For most Republicans, Fox News, and our local "newspapers," it's always Obama's fault. And it's always been his fault. (My favorite Republican example is the survey of Louisiana Republicans that held Obama, rather than George Bush, responsible for the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I also assume you saw that former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin recently blamed the president for her son's arrest on assault charges.) In the case of coal, despite the evidence that its downturn started long before Obama's presidency, he's blamed even as the marketplace demonstrates that coal cannot compete with other energy sources. Of course, that's immaterial -- it's still his fault because everything is his fault.
This morning's editorial, "Say No to Tax Credit For Solar Power Users," is about state rather than national politics. The editorial begins, however, by blaming the president:
Surely West Virginia legislators have had enough of helping President Barack Obama destroy the coal and natural gas industries in his campaign against fossil fuels. And surely Mountain State taxpayers have spent enough money doing so.
According to the editorial, the legislature is considering reinstating tax credits for solar panels:
Several state senators, led by Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, want to reinstate a $2,000 tax credit for people who install solar panels. The original program expired in 2013; Kessler and the others want it extended until 2023.
"We always say we want an all-of-the-above energy policy. I don't see any reason we should turn our back on clean energy," Kessler said.
Sound reasonable. Except that we must blame Obama:
Well, many West Virginians see no reason to turn our backs on reasonably priced electricity generated from coal or even natural gas, either - but Obama is well along in the process of doing just that. He is using billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for solar and wind energy.
And where did these billions come from? An op-ed by former Charleston Gazette business editor Marty Chase in today's Gazette-Mail explains the most recent source:
Tucked away in the massive tax and budget compromise passed by Congress in mid-December were several unexpected windfalls for renewable energy including tax breaks for both the solar and wind energy sectors aimed at putting them on a more competitive footing versus coal and other fossil fuels.
There’s little doubt that extending the investment tax credits for solar and wind presage major boosts in both production and consumer usage over the next decade as the nation shifts away from fossil fuels.
Wait a minute -- if both the Senate and the House are controlled by the Republican Party, how did these tax credits get passed? As I described at the time of the bill's passage, a majority of Republicans in both the house and the senate voted for this bill. Yes, even Intelligencer and News-Register favorite, Senator Shelley Moore Capito, voted for it and the locals later praised her for her vote (without mentioning renewables) in a glowing editorial.
Hey, let's not let the facts and charges of hypocrisy get in the way of this anti-Obama editorial -- just keep repeating the mantra: "it's all Obama's fault."
For an alternative view of the viability of renewables, I recommend Marty Chase's op-ed piece in today's Charleston Gazette-Mail referenced above. Here's his conclusion:
Bottom line: these moves on tax credits for renewables put both solar and wind on a more equal footing with coal, oil and natural gas which have prospered from such tax breaks and subsidies for generations.
And it’s far more worthy of attention than blather about Obama and EPA’s war on coal.