It’s an extraordinary thing when an American President says he wants to “bankrupt” an American industry. And while it’s difficult to know the implications of such a thing – we may be in the process of finding out.
Back in January of 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama sat for an interview with the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper. In that discussion, our future President was quizzed aggressively about his “green energy” agenda, and how he would usher in an era of “green jobs.” He was also asked how, as President, he would curtail the manufacture, sale, and consumption of more traditional energy forms that are regarded as environmentally hazardous.
Responding to these questions, a fatigued and hoarse-voiced Senator Obama stated, in part:
“Let me describe my overall policy. What I’ve said is that we would put a cap and trade system in to place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else’s out there. I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gasses that is emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market, and the ratcheted-down caps that are proposed every year. So if somebody wants to build a coal power plant, they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re gonna be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted…”
From there, Mr. Obama went on to further explain that the revenues generated by “charging polluters” for their emissions, would be utilized to create wind and solar power plants. Thus, the candidate reasoned, America would begin a new era of “clean energy.”
For a variety of different reasons, these were some extraordinary remarks from a presidential candidate. For one, they presupposed that things always go according to plans, when the government is running the show. Take money away from the coal industry and give it to the “solar” and “wind” industries , so Mr. Obama reasoned, and everything would be fine – his idyllic vision of “green energy” would necessarily come to pass, simply because he said so. History shows that governmental endeavors are never this simplistic (even the fairly recent history of our government’s handling of the Gulf oil spill and Hurricane Katrina demonstrate this), but politicians of Mr. Obama’s ilk don’t like to be bound by the lessons of history.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.