Rick Berg Loves Obamanomics

Rep. Rick Berg was in Grand Forks today, and gave an interview with the Grand Forks Herald after touring the LM Wind Power factory located there. The company says they need wind power subsidies to continue because, shockingly, demand for wind power drops to almost nothing without them.

And Rep. Berg? Well, he wants to keep the subsidies going too. Because, according to him, we should “invest” tax dollars in areas that are “creating jobs.”

Earlier in the day, Berg toured the LM Wind Power factory in Grand Forks to hear from company officials about expansion plans.

Dan Gordon, senior manager for human resources, said the facility has hired 110 in the past two months and plans to hire another 150 in the next two months. That will bring LM Wind Power’s total staff to about 700, he said, and the company wants to expand its Grand Forks facility to keep up with growing demand.

But Richard Pettifor, the company’s commercial director, said that growth faces a challenge: A “significant” federal wind energy production tax credit is set to expire at the end of the year, unless Congress extends it.

The incentive has expired three times, and Pettifor said each lapse caused demand for new wind energy installations to “drop off a cliff.” Demand fell between 73 percent and 93 percent in 1999, 2001 and 2003 when the tax credit was allowed to expire.

“That’s the dilemma we have at the moment,” he said. “We’re expanding, and we’re employing another 260 people here in Grand Forks. But will those jobs continue? That really is the lack of visibility we have.”

Pettifor said he is “pretty confident” Congress will extend the tax credit eventually, and Berg also said he was optimistic about getting enough support to keep the incentive in place.

“What we need to do in Congress, we need to look at those things that are creating jobs and helping our economy grow,” he said. “Those are the things we need to be investing in.”

Just to be clear, this is exactly the same sort of thing President Obama said about his stimulus spending. That we should “invest” it in creating green jobs, etc., etc. That sort of governing philosophy is was brought us Solyndra and a host of other green energy debacles.

Let’s be honest: Wind power is a bad investment. Even the folks at LM Wind Power admit that, without government subsidies, demand for the products they’re producing pretty much doesn’t exist. Wind power, because it is expensive and unreliable, isn’t competitive in the energy markets. Therefore it is only an industry insofar as the taxpayers are made to subsidize it.

But we’re all supposed to look the other way as the subsidy recipients cozy up to the politicians who dole out the subsidies because, after our tax dollars are redistributed appropriately, some jobs are created or something.

This is the sort of economic thinking conservatives are supposed to oppose. The American dream should be individuals pursuing their own prosperity, not Americans looking to collect a government check, work for the government or go into business with the government.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • ellinas1

    Viva Berg. Good for you. You fooled Port and company, and now they are whining.
    But don’t you worry.
    Come election time they got your back.

  • Jimmypop

    “What we need to do in Congress, we need to look at those things that are creating jobs and helping our economy grow,” he said. “Those are the things we need to be investing in.”
    when i get another ‘give me money’ letter…..im sure tomorrow….maybe i will write his EXACT SAME quote on it (delete ‘What we need to do in Congress” and keep the rest) and send it back with no money in it.

    i get how you have to placate as many people as possible to get their votes and money, but holy crap…there needs to be SOME baseline…..how about this next time rick…. ‘hey, nice shop, but stealing peoples money at gunpoint to pay for this is wrong. best of luck.’ 

    how can berg be so stupid so quickly? makes me sad….

  • toomuchguvmint

    I guess that is  why there are so many government jobs in DC – politicians  investing tax dollars  in areas that are creating jobs.

  • Game

    Yet tax credits for Big Oil is just fine, in fact, we should give them more tax breaks.

    • sbark

      .do your part……….fully totally 100% boycott oil, gas, nat. gas…anything to do with the oil industry…….

      Park that car, walk, bike…………back up the hatred for “big oil” , buy that Chev Volt and use only power that you fully know is from Wind power……….make sure its not from coal fired plants because those are as bad as “big oil”………

      if nobody does anything to make themselves feel good, nothing will get done

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Taxing somebody less isn’t the same as subsidizing them.

      What the wind power folks get is a tax credit, meaning it has nothing to do with the taxes they pay.  It is a subsidy.

      And here’s the truth: Even if oil was subsidized, if those subsidies stopped the oil would still be pumped.  Because it’s a valuable product for which there is demand.

      Wind power, on the other hand, by the admission of the wind power industry itself would dry up without subsidies.  That’s the problem.

    • cherz1967

      Hey Game, you now nothing about Big Oil, so how about you shut up or pick up a book and read.  Big Oil is not nearly as big as Big Government, but you wouldn’t know that would you genius.

      • Game

        Wow, did I hit a sore spot? I can vote for my Government, I cannot vote for Big Oil (unless I vote for Dick Cheney I guess).  But keep calling me names, it will help you feel better little boy.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          “Big oil” is private and competitive enterprise.

          Big government is not.

  • sbark

    Congressman Berg has got some money……….I’d like to see him pour a couple hundred thousand into this wind company……..put his money where his “confidence ” is……

    his congressional inside trading priviliges maybe even tempts him to put in 500k?

  • Brent

    Berg is rich.  Why doesn’t he subsidize that crap himself?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Good point.  If this is such a good investment, let’s see Berg put his money where his mouth is.

  • Robertfrost

    Perhaps we should end all energy tax breaks while were at it.  Oil, coal, ethanol, wind, all of it.  Only that won’t happen because big oil is a huge backer of republican candidates.  So, we apply the standard unfairly, and only target green energy breaks for cuts.  I like it when Port lets his true republican colors show.

    • cherz1967

      . . . and Robertfrost lets his stupid jackass colors flow.  Do you listen to nothing?  Do you know nothing?  When was the last time you learned something on your on instead of from a fricken left news outlet.  “Big Oil” doesn’t receive tax credits, nor does coal.  Only green bullshit like ehtanol, wind, and solar receive tax subsidies without which those industries would crumble. 

      Take it ALL away and you still have coal and oil our old friends.  Pick up a book jackass and learn something.  Leave the “Big” discussions to the adults.

      • Robertfrost

        Right, even though we know that there is constant talk about tax breaks big oil companies receive during times of record profits, and their constant threat is to increase prices on energy of the breaks are taken away.

        Coal and oil get no breaks?  Maybe you should pick up the book.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I’ve actually long advocated for flatter taxes.  I think that the maze of credits and deductions, etc. complicate our tax code, and that we’d be better off with a simpler code with no exceptions.

      In exchange for lower overall rates, of course.

  • Stewardship

    We have the technology to produce more efficient heat engines that use disel and gasoline for fuel. Why dont we use that innovation? WHY?

  • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

    “Americans looking to collect a governmentcheck, work for the government or go into business with the government.” I suspect that describes most of the residents of ND.

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