A Reader comments on the green energy provisions in the stimulus bill …
The range of subsidies for energy in stimulus bill is very impressive. It is noteworthy that there is a grant program for alternatives. Grants to start up businesses are very rare. Tax policy usually returns tax payments or creates deductions and credits against taxes. To send checks to people is quite extraordinary for Congress. So this is a sign of awareness that wind and solar need real cash, given that they are start up projects where there haven’t been taxes paid in the past. Giving them a transferable tax credit, one that they can sell to others, is not effective for the special bad reason that there is no appetite for buying tax credits just now, since folks don’t have profits and have plenty of losses from their own businesses and portfolios.
It is also good that loan guarantees appear in the proposal. But the big question is this: can the energy secretary guarantee $8b of loans or does the provision mean that he can guarantee approximately $100b as long as he doesn’t actually spend (that is, lose) more than $8 b.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.