Tag: Solar tariff

California’s Solar Panel Mandate Worsens Ongoing Crises

By Indri Schaelicke | United States

The California Energy Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday, May 9th to mandate that all new homes built must have solar power. Those responsible for creation of the policy are hoping that the move will help reduce carbon emissions by switching to a cleaner source of energy. However, they have overlooked several important issues with their solution.

To start, there is no need for increased electricity production in California. The Golden State already produces more solar power than they actually need. To deal with the excess, they have had to export their electricity to neighboring states, as well as prevent energy from solar farms from coming into California. This mandate will only add to the ongoing problem, as large amounts of electricity already flood the market.

Beside the excess amount of electricity California produces, the state is also facing low rates of home ownership. California currently has the third-worst state home ownership rate for millennials, and as the price of houses climbs higher as a result of this policy, that rate will surely continue to drop. Mandating that houses must have solar panels is estimated to raise the price of a new house by about $9,500. Elevated prices will only make it more difficult for first time home buyers to enter into the market, at a time when California is already in the middle of a homelessness crisis. California has the second-most-expensive homes in the nation after Hawaii, and it is dangerous to produce legislation that will raise these prices further.


Furthermore, the cost of living in California, which is exorbitantly high already, will only continue to rise. The figure below shows how California has the second highest cost of living for 2017, behind only Hawaii. 

Cost of Living Map

Many people will not be able to afford living in California, causing millions to go into debt or even become homeless. People facing financial difficulty are unable to spend and invest in economies as well as those that are more wealthy. Thus, if fewer people are able to spend large amounts of their income, the economy will not be able to grow well. This could threaten California’s years of strong economic growth.

It is also concerning to see that this policy was created and implemented by a group of unelected politicians – effectively an oligarchy. If the populace does not like the decision, there is little to no way that voters can remove the bureaucrats from office. The creation of this policy is a prime example of how the government seeks to gain control over every aspect of individuals’ lives, by any means necessary. The founding fathers never intended for unelected officials to be able to legislate and create policy that would impact our lives and ability to succeed. The idea of a representative democracy is that we the people are able to elect those we feel will make decisions that we support, and when they cease to do so, remove them from office. It is not possible for the populace to remove a bureaucrat from office.

Therefore, Californians must decry this policy and create a backlash severe enough to convince the Commission to reverse this decision. Otherwise, we can expect considerable hits to the California economy. Scarier still, the state will move towards a reality where bureaucrats commonly make these decisions without accountability.

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Trump Ends His Glory Streak

By Mason Mohon | USA

It was bound to happen sooner or later.

The Donald had been looking up for me, to be honest. As a radical libertarian, I am always hesitant to put my support behind any president, but the man almost swayed me. Almost.

During the election cycle, I was hard-set against Mr. Trump mostly for his protectionist trade outlook. It was a call-back to the Republicans of old: promote business in the U.S. by removing regulations (yay) but also increasing tariffs (boo!).

On inauguration day, I walked away from the Washington Mall fuming with disappointment and anger that I just saw the new president give a speech focused on promoting the American worker and “bringing jobs back” to the United States. Protectionist rhetoric of this sort always tends to set off the alarms in my Hazlitt-filled mind, so it was understandable that I felt this way.

To my surprise, though, he didn’t seem to carry out very publicly any of these grand promises. On the other hand, his first week was filled with executive orders, some nasty and authoritarian, but some glorious, particularly his order that every new regulation put in place would need to repeal two existing ones. While this doesn’t make much sense as an actual policy action (regulation was barely defined), it did set a precedent for what the Trump presidency was going to look like.

At that point, though, I was still extremely hesitant.

Then nearly a year later the tax cuts came around. The Republicans had seemingly proven themselves to be incompetent when it came to repealing Obamacare, but they cut taxes with flying colors. That is, flying colors as compared to their regular uselessness.

I thought to myself: “Man, that is pretty awesome. Taxes are hella theft, so thank god these are going down.” I began to budge. Trump had taken a pretty positive stance in my view, but this all changed very quickly.

I looked at my phone yesterday only to see a news notification that Trump is putting a 30% tariff on solar cells and washing machines.

Well heck.

Obviously, his intention is to save jobs in the U.S., particularly those in manufacturing. This fallacious reasoning has been debunked many times over – these jobs are outsourced to foreign nations because it is cheaper to make them there. If they are cheaper to make there, they will be cheaper to buy here, meaning that real wages will go up. If they are built here, they are more expensive because of wage and labor laws, in addition to an evolving workforce. Real wages are driven down, and U.S. citizens have less wealth to spend on other things that will boost the economy.

To add insult to injury, this isn’t even going to work. The Guardian reported that this tariff will cost the United States jobs, not give it more. Our real wages are going down, we have fewer jobs, less wealth is able to be used, and we lose out on a valuable source of energy.

Whoop dee doo.

Donald Trump is an immensely successful businessman and a charismatic speaker, two things I admire a lot. He is not an intellectual nor an economist, though, which is showing through in his actions.

There are still three years left, though, which means that there is time to make up for this blunder. Whether or not that will happen is not something that I know.