Monday, July 13, 2015

Government funding: the default postion

Why does everything have to be funded by the government using tax dollars?  Why are we "doing nothing" unless there is a government program to either do it or fund it?  Why does cutting government spending always lead to accusations of "doing nothing" or "attacking" the concept in question?

Even conservatives are guilty of assuming that government funding is some sort of expectation.  Witness a recent column at about renewable energy.  Tony Abbott, prime minister of Australia, has just directed the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, a government funded bank designed to finance renewable energy research and projects, to stop funding wind farms.  There could be many reasons for this directive but the one that leaps to my mind is the fact that wind power is inefficient, unreliable, and not cost effective.  Turbines cost millions of dollars, are somewhat unreliable, and only generate power in remote areas with steady winds.  Even after billions of dollars in government subsidies and research dollars, wind turbines are still not a generally useful way to provide power across a grid.

The author at, however, makes the following statement:
The funding ban is just the latest salvo in the government’s attacks on the renewable energy sector which also includes small-scale solar projects.

How exactly is cutting government funding equivalent to an "attack" on renewable energy?  Anyone who wants, assuming that they can obtain the requisite permits and environmental impact studies, can build a wind turbine, or even a whole farm full.

This is typical of leftist thought.  They have to take other people's money and use it to fund their own priorities.   Any reduction in that direction is "an attack" on that priority.

It is unfortunate that we see it creeping into conservative/libertarian writing.

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