By Rebekah Rast — While the discussion is still alive to cut Big Bird’s taxpayer subsidy as a first step to tackling America’s budget woes, it’s a mere drop in the bucket compared to another industry taxpayers do not need to be assisting.
Green energy. The Daily Caller reports on a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report estimate that $24 billion was spent in 2011 to subsidize fuels and energy technologies, “with $20.5 billion in tax preferences and $3.5 billion in Department of Energy spending programs.”
Furthermore, “78 percent of all tax subsidies and 54 percent of DOE subsidies went to alternative energy projects,” The Daily Caller states.
Where has this spending got us? A CNN Fact Check report asks the question, “Are half of ‘green’ energy firms helped by stimulus out of business?”
In the 2009 stimulus package, $90 billion was authorized for “green” energy. CNN states, “Part of 2009’s much larger $787 billion stimulus package, this money went toward things like the weatherization of more than 770,000 homes and cleaning 688 square miles of land formerly used for Cold War-era nuclear testing. Many individual companies did benefit directly. The government website that tracks stimulus spending lists 27,226 individual awards under the “Energy/Environment” section, totaling just shy of $34 billion.”
Accounting for all green infrastructures, like high speed rail, the Brookings Institute claims the total spent thus far on “green” energy and projects is $51 billion.
However, what stands out most about this spending is the $535 million loan given to California-based solar panel company Solyndra that went bankrupt—taking all that money down with it. Another company, Ener1, also went belly-up after receiving $118 million from taxpayers. Evergreen Solar Inc. also went bust after reportedly receiving $5.3 million of stimulus cash.
But what matters most to Americans are the jobs that came out of all this spending. HotAir summarizes a Reuters article on the results:
The Obama administration has been reduced now to arguing that its $90 billion expenditure will result in 827,000 “job years” over the course of Obama’s term in office. For those who are counting, that would be 276,000 jobs lasting three years. Even in “job years,” that comes to $108,827 per job-year; in jobs, it comes to $326,481. And the “job-years” construct carries a heavy subtext of a lack of permanence, too.”
Since the green energy trend is falling apart elsewhere in the world, now would be a good time for Gov. Mitt Romney to spread his wings farther than just Big Bird and end taxpayer money going to failing and expensive green energy policies.
While Big Bird makes for a cute political ad for President Obama, the giant yellow bird should be the least of his worries. Americans are likely more concerned about the $90 billion of their money he’s wasted.
Rebekah Rast is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government (ALG) and NetRightDaily.com. You can follow her on twitter at @RebekahRast.