Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Party Of Small Government At Work In Michigan

In Michigan, Senate Bill 438 has been proposed by several Republicans. It will potentially eliminate net metering in the state. Net metering is a program that allows customers or businesses using solar or other renewable energy to offset their electricity costs and then possibly sell excess energy back into a grid of regulated utilities. Under the new proposal, a homeowner or business owner would have to buy all of their electricity at retail rate and then sell all the energy they produce back to the utility at wholesale rate. The effects of this would make it far more costly for solar energy companies and installers to do business.

This is part of a pattern I've seen in states controlled by allegedly "small-government" Republicans. Michigan also banned the sale of Tesla cars last year, and two other GOP dominated states (Arizona and Texas) also do the same. The bigger car companies like General Motors have lobbied to have another law passed in Maryland (the effort failed). The Senate Bill 438 I talked about the first paragraph? Electric companies are lobbying for that. These guys don't want the competition. They feel like their profits are threatened. And they have allies in government to help them out, most of whom are Republicans.

For all their talk about the glories of the Free Market and the need for government to stay out of the way, it's rare that the Republicans actually practice this. A truly Free Market is pretty much impossible in a country dominated by big businesses and their lobbyists. That's why I don't take all the talk about it that seriously. It isn't a plausible ideal because of how intertwined money is with politics. Values must always take second place to fundraising for a reelection.

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