How can you tell when Mitt Romney is talking politics? Both sides of his mouth are moving.
For a while now, we’ve been blustering about a stupid impediment the wind industry faces — the expiration of a tax credit for energy producers that puts an incentive on wind energy. The production tax credit (PTC), as its known, exists for a slew of other renewable sources, but only wind’s is due to expire on Dec. 31. With an extension of the credit looking unlikely, wind power companies are cutting back on production, uncertain if the same (very high!) level of demand will exist in 2013. And cutting back on production means layoffs.
The New York Times picked up the story:
The tax break, which costs about $1 billion a year, has been periodically renewed by Congress with support from both parties. This year, however, it has become a wedge issue in the presidential contest. President Obama has traveled to wind-heavy swing states like Iowa to tout his support for the subsidy. Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, has said he opposes the wind credit, and that has galvanized Republicans in Congress against it, perhaps dooming any extension or at least delaying it until after the election despite a last-ditch lobbying effort from proponents this week.
Opponents argue that the industry has had long enough to wean itself from the subsidy and, with wind representing a small percentage of total electricity generation, the taxpayers’ investment has yielded an insufficient return.
Reminder: the oil industry is celebrating its 96th year of receiving government subsidies.
As mentioned above, Willard “Mitt” Romney opposes extending the PTC. And that opposition means that the House Republicans have slammed on the brakes.
Not every player in the industry was wearing its seat belt. Earlier this week, Siemens announced that it was laying off several hundred people. According to North American Wind Power, the company released a statement to employees reading, in part, “uncertainty surrounding the future of the production tax credit for new wind turbine installations, the current trend toward more natural-gas-based power generation due to record-low natural-gas prices and still lingering recession impacts on energy-demand growth are casting a shadow on the short-term future of the entire U.S. wind power industry.” Right there. Boom. PTC to blame.
Today’s layoffs at Siemens are yet another unfortunate reminder of the Obama Economy where American families have suffered from chronic unemployment, increased poverty and falling incomes. There is a fundamental disconnect between President Obama’s philosophy of the need for redistribution of wealth and the free market economy which our country was founded on.
Ha ha what?
So let’s get this straight. The cuts at Siemens can be blamed at least in part on uncertainty surrounding the expiration of the PTC. The expiration of the PTC is happening because House Republicans are lining up behind Mitt Romney’s position on the matter. And then Romney blames “Obama’s [imaginary] philosophy of the need for redistribution of wealth” for the layoffs? It’s the Republican political tactic made manifest: block efforts to spur growth, blame Obama for lack of growth.
Mitt Romney is like Schrodinger’s cat, except he holds two positions even as he’s being observed. He constantly rails against government and the role of government in creating jobs — then wants to be elected president because he knows how to create jobs.
Here’s a question for you, Mr. Romney: How as president would you have saved those jobs at Siemens?