Big energy has made it their job to vilify government subsidies to green energy development, despite getting decades of similar subsidies themselves. They insist the free market will decide the success or failure of emerging solar and wind energy development, their direct competitor.
Not only is the argument hypocritical, but they’ve been proven to be flat out wrong about the horrors of industry subsidies and government picking winners and losers, just ask tobacco farmers in solid red Republican states.
The Tobacco Transition Payment Program (TTPP), also called the "tobacco buy-out," helps tobacco quota holders and producers transition to the free market.
That’s right, the TTPP government program, with all of its subsidies, is now helping farmers compete in the free market, and produce organic foods. What a difference.
So when you hear, over and over again, how subsidies contort the free market when it comes to the development of alternative energy, think tobacco.
Tobacco, an industry that made money intentionally killing off their customers while luring in new victims, is now giving way to healthy organic vegetables via transitional government subsidies.
Ironically, we can also thank a Republican for the government handout:
The Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-357), signed by President Bush on Oct. 22, 2004, ended the Depression-era tobacco quota program and established the TTPP. The program provides annual transitional payments for 10 years to eligible tobacco quota holders and producers. Payments began in 2005 and continue through 2014. Payments are funded through assessments of approximately $10 billion on tobacco product manufacturers and importers.
Which leads me to a story featured on PBS’s Market to Market. Big bad old government subsidies, helping farmers stay in business, create jobs, and feed America: