Things are far more complicated than they seem, certainly more complicated than I’m capable of imagining.
I try to buy whatever I need made in America and avoid buying stuff made in China, nearly impossible in my community. We don’t have the variety of shopping options that city people do. And, I’m a solar nut. I love it, I’m delighted that California leads the nation in solar installations and even without taking the subsidies away from big oil, solar is booming. Now, listen to this:
Solar is booming because cheap panels are coming from China. That leads to competition. Solar panels made in the USA, Germany and Japan are still available and China has forced prices down everywhere. Since we have a trade deficit with China, it is nice to see it benefit us in such a big way. American installers are doing a brisk business and we are moving toward sustainable energy because clean technology is almost as cheap as dirty fossil fuels. The US and the European Union are threatening to stifle this breakthrough. So, how?
Both the US and EU give billions in taxpayer subsidies to Big Oil and Coal. Do they turn those subsidies to clean energy? No, they are about to drive solar prices back up by putting tariffs on China and China is threatening to retaliate? Oh, let’s have a trade war. Who would benefit by hurting the burgeoning, green solar industry? The oil and coal industry, of course. I’m not saying we don’t need oil, I’m just saying we shouldn’t subsidize it anymore. Why not turn those subsidies into clean energy. The oil companies rake in billions in profits and we still subsidize them? Enough is enough.
I’d rather see them rescind the whole trade agreement than tariff solar. China has a poor human rights record and they supply us with our own stuff at cheaper prices. I read in Smithsonian Magazine where one expert claims that “Every major company in the United States has already been penetrated by China.” He also fears they have implanted logic bombs , trapdoors and Trojan horses in our electronics, l that can be activated on command like a cyber-Pearl Harbor attack. That may be fear mongering, but we certainly stand to lose our competitive edge. Our F-35 Bomber technology- important and our early American quilt patterns- irritating.
The farm industry in the U.S. has been facing declining beef and pork consumption in the U.S. Now, land grabs for grazing land are being taken over to keep beef flowing to Asian countries. Yup! They take our electronics, steal or buy our technology, and now we export our food to them.
China has a poor human rights and environmental record, and its strategy of flooding the global market with subsidised goods is annoying and costly to jobs. The best thing is not to blame China, but to aggressively entreat our leaders to subsidize US solar manufacturers with cheap loans just like China does. We should learn from their practices.
Experts predict that tariffs could cost 60,0000 US jobs. So, cheaper panels provide more work for people. Forget the tariff. It only sounds like a good answer.
NYT — “U.S. Slaps High Tariffs on Chinese Solar Panels”
Bloomberg – “U.S. Solar Tariffs On Chinese Cells May Boost Prices”