Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Pete Morin Editorial Review--Issue # 78

Evergreen Solar--or, so long Nevergreen

Anyone who's read this column for the past year and a half knows how I feel about Government intrusion in the marketplace, but recently there's been an example for all to see what happens when the best of intentions go awry for our masters and overlords.

Evergreen Solar manufacturing received $58 million dollars from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts approximately two years ago for a new factory at the old Fort Devens Army facility outside of Boston. Governor Deval Patrick decided that the money would be well spent since the future of energy production in the US would come from, so called, 'green' energy sources. Now, this is a most laudable idea from our wise and enlightened leader. After all, who could disagree with his assessment that the future would be in this 'green' technology? Apparently, Evergreen. You see, they announced last week that they would be laying off 800 of the 900 person workforce and transferring most operations to-----CHINA!! That's right, our friends and comrades in China. Seems that the cost of doing business and producing solar panels is a little cheaper in the People's Republic of China than in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

It's certainly bad enough when investors make the wrong decision concerning an investment, they lose their money and a little pride also. When a government does so it does somewhat more damage. How so, you say? The money spent on this adventure comes from the paychecks of the citizens of Massachusetts. They don't give it willingly. Taxation and coercion are two adjectives that come to mind. Secondly, lives are adversely affected by the closure of the facility. Notice the report of the words of a 25 year old temp worker as he exited the factory recently in near tears: "It came so suddenly, I don't know what I'm going to do."

The free market isn't perfect and mistakes are made regularly by some very intelligent people, but when the government interjects itself between investors and a product the outcome can be much more detrimental for all concerned. Governor Patrick's desire to see the solar energy industry succeed had nothing to do with the reality of whether or not it would ACTUALITY succeed. The result was a 'mal-investment'; a kind of moral hazard, if you will, committed by a government that should have known better than to venture where it didn't belong.

But Government never learns, or I should say, liberals never learn, They have an agenda, an ideology and a purpose that transcends mere mortals and we little people must learn to accept their higher wisdom. Be it solar energy, healthcare, finance, or any other free market endeavor, liberals never stop trying to impose their ideas for improving the future, results be damned.

The free market--nothing else even comes close.

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