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The Science of Public Choice Reveals that Government is Motivated by Politics and Not by Science

Here’s a letter to Reuters:

You report that “The U.S. International Trade Commission voted 6-0 that there was a reasonable indication that SolarWorld Industries America and other U.S. producers [of certain ‘green energy’ products] have been harmed by the imports or could have been” (“US panel okays China solar panel unfair trade probe,” Dec. 2.).  You add that “The vote allows the Commerce Department to continue an investigation into whether the Chinese government provides illegal subsidies for its solar energy sector and whether Chinese companies are selling solar cells and panels in the United States at unfairly low prices.”

I don’t get it.  If Beijing volunteers to make green-energy products more widely available and more affordable to Americans by subsidizing our consumption of such products, why should we complain?  If we cheer (or at least tolerate) Uncle Sam’s many efforts at distorting markets in order to increase the supply of – and the use of – green-energy products, why do we jeer at Beijing for doing the very same thing?  Shouldn’t we cheer Beijing’s policies even more loudly than we do those of Uncle Sam, given that the costs of Beijing’s distortions are borne overwhelmingly by the Chinese?  Shouldn’t we send bouquets of (green) roses to China for relieving us of much of the cost of refitting our homes and businesses with solar panels?

Donald J. Boudreaux

(HT Andy Roth)