Obama Slams Koch Brothers For Opposing Progress

President Obama was in rare form Monday night, speaking in defense of his climate agenda at a Las Vegas clean energy summit. He took aim at his opponents, the billionaire Koch brothers chief among them. “When you start seeing massive lobbying efforts backed by fossil fuel interests or conservative think tanks, or the Koch brothers pushing for new laws to roll back renewable energy standards or prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding, that’s a problem,” said Obama.

According to the president, his clean energy plan is a free market solution backed even by the Tea Party, a claim that’s hard to find any proof for. “It’s one thing if you’re consistent in being free market,” he said of his opponents. “It’s another thing when you’re free market until it’s solar that’s working and people want to buy and suddenly you’re not for it anymore.”

Hmm, that is interesting. Let’s take a gander at Obama’s proposals and let’s just see how “free market” they are.

On Monday, the White House announced a new slate of executive orders designed to make it easier for homeowners to make the switch to green energy. The orders include another $1 billion in federal loans for distributed energy projects, a new federal program meant to teach Americans how to increase their energy efficiency, and $24 million in grants for several solar projects across the country. Yes, yes, that sounds very “free market.”

“They’re not doing this out of altruism,” Obama said of Google and Costco, major companies that have begun investing in solar power. “They’re doing this because it means big cost savings.”

And that’s fine! There’s not a conservative in the world who has any problem with that. This is exactly as it should be. We’d all love to make the switch to energy that will lower our monthly bills, bring down the cost of our products, and make us less dependent on foreign oil.

The problem comes when the federal government pours all of this taxpayer money into forcing the switch before the world is ready. “Instead of spending another $1 billion of taxpayer money to prop up noncompetitive sources of energy, the president should cut barriers to energy development on federal land and offshore,” said Rep. Rob Bishop, the chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources.

Exactly. The issue here is not the Koch brothers or anyone else making a fortune from fossil fuels. Innovation will always win out over greedy Luddites. But only when that innovation is ready for prime time. When solar, wind, and other green technologies have reached that point, Obama won’t have to throw billions of tax dollars at them. The market will explode and fossil fuels will become a distant memory. Maybe that will happen in the next twenty years. Maybe it will never happen. Either way, forcing the country to make the switch isn’t going to work.

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