Stop Wasting Money on Miracles

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Let’s imagine for a moment.

A scientist discovers a new insect which can produce a new kind of fiber. But, not just a mere fiber, it comes out as a full sheet of cloth!

Some commercial enthusiasts of the new discovery say that, since there is zero processing cost to take the fiber from rough to thread to cloth sheet, it is a free supply of material. They do acknowledge that setting up a colony of the insects is expensive and the colony covers a broad swath of land.

They set about marketing the new miracle product, and find that initially, the set up costs for the colony make the finished product more expensive than the many alternatives. They believe that they can overcome this obstacle if only they can obtain funding, and they succeed in getting a Billion Dollar grant from the US Departments of Agriculture and Commerce.

Cloth Bug

They proceed to set up several facilities around the US. They find that – almost immediately – the sheet of material develops holes, which reduce the benefits of this “zero” cost material. After considerable effort and spending, they – so far – still are unable to cure the hole problem.

They also find that birds and bats like to eat these insects, although something in their bodies poisons the birds and bats, whose dead bodies litter the landscapes surrounding the production facilities.

They continue to produce the cloth, even though it is not cost effective versus the competition, and even though the quality makes it much less useful than other materials, and even though it is an environmental disaster. They stay in business only because of massive government subsidies.

Question: Would you vote to end the government subsidies and let this new wonder material wind up in the scrap heap? I certainly would.

Now, some of you may be wondering what this excursion into daydreaming has to do with today’s real world. I would suggest that with a small re-description, this product already is available, sucking up Billions of Dollars of tax-funded government subsidies.

The miracle product – actually a pair of them – are Solar Panels and Windmill Farms!

Solar and Wind

Both of these can exist in the marketplace – except in tiny niche areas – only because of massive government subsidies to cover the huge expense of setting up the facilities. The finished product indeed is filled with holes – when the sun doesn’t shine and when the wind doesn’t blow (or blows too hard). Both of these need to cover vast expanses of land and kill hundreds of thousands of birds and bats.

Solar and Wind facilities defile our landscapes and waste capital that otherwise could be used actually to produce something of value. They are worse than worthless – they are harming our country.

We need to demand that our elected officials – and the army of bureaucrats they supposedly oversee – stop wasting our national treasure on such lunatic ideas.

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