I'm sure you've seen the endless drip of announcements and adulations. They give away Free cash money for free to put super-duper, earth transforming solar panels on you roof:
City, federal incentives make installing a solar panel a zero dollar investmentTo whom, exactly is it of no cost?
So, if I understand this, $18,000 in tax money (coming from renters, for example) is going into putting in 4100 watts of capacity, which is sufficient to run a vacuum cleaner and a coffee pot when the sun is shining. Watts=amps x volts, so it's 37 amps, or one or two circuits in a household panel.
That part of somebody's electric bill probably amounts to $250 a year, at most. The return in the government's "investment" comes in 72 years, assuming that the panels don't get damaged in a hail storm within 5 years.
More importantly, knowing that there is a subsidy for it, what's the panel manufacturer has no incentive to keep his price down. Knowing that the $18k were being given away out there, they'd most likely ADD at least $9000 of that back into their price.
Since the average income earner's median income produces about $5000 in tax revenue a year, putting 4.1 kw of solar panels on one person's house is equal to the entire annual federal tax revenue generated by more than 3 people, and that's assuming the government does absolutely nothing for them, including using a border crossing, an interstate highway, or calling a government agency with a question.
And who is this lucky chap who chose what was behind curtain number 3? The man mentioned in the article is one Peter Bahor, an Environmental Protection Specialist at the EPA, whose income is subsidized up to 100%, and 140% considering retirement and other benefits. He has a highly scientific degree, a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies specializing in "Community and Social Planning", as if we were living in a managed, collective society. Apparently this qualified one to do science as an Environmental Protection Specialist. Variably, he is listed as a specialist in dealing with clean water, and issues related to the use of concrete in construction. In other words, his job is (or has been) to frustrate the price-viability of construction, a sector of industry which is presently near death, and one which accounts for virtually all of the extraordinary unemployment facing Americans right now since the beginning of 2009.
Oddly enough, reflecting on life in East Germany, one had this sort of state managed and collectivized society, all of which meant to see people as production units and socially and politically compliant fixtures. They also had a quietly disliked class of people who, through connection and position were receiving benefits that they weren't paying for. To think we left that behind for all of this.
It's absolutely hilarious when I think about it, because it would be cheaper to pay the man's entire electric bill for approximately 10 years.
Next time you look at your pay stub, take a good look at it, America. Add your FICA, state, and local taxes, and add them up. Don't include the withholding for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Take $18,000 and divide it by that sum. That's how many pay periods you will be working to pay off Bahor's solar panels.
Remember, you might think it's your income, but it's somebody else's irrelevant fun house.