30 September 2008

Liars, Pimps, and Thieves. Congress Strikes Again.

The western (front) side of the United States ...Image via WikiIt's bad enough they pimped affordable housing and encouraged lending institutions to give excessive mortgages to people who couldn't afford them.

Then they played partisan politics with the financial markets and said to hell with Main Street. (Hey, I have problems with the bailout plan, too; I like Fred Wilson's suggestion on A VC last week.)

Now Congressional leaders are holding renewable energy tax credits hostage.

Who are these people and how did they get elected?

I'm not taking any party sides here, it's happening on both sides of the aisle. They are both to blame.

As The New York Times reported this morning, "The House and the Senate are caught up in a bitter fight over legislation to extend various expiring provisions of federal tax law. The tax breaks for renewable energy are not controversial. But in the current debate, they are tied to many other tax breaks for businesses and individuals, including an extension of the tax credit for research and development, expansion of the child tax credit and relief from the alternative minimum tax, which threatens to snare millions of middle-income families next year."

Tax credits for investing in solar energy and producing wind energy will expire in December unless the stalemate is broken. And that can lead to more jobs lost -- at a time when the country is facing massive layoffs associated with the collapse of the credit market.

Now is the time to act on something that can continue the momentum of investment in renewable energy and in the new green economy.

But instead, Congress is getting caught up in debate and posturing.

"Congress is furthering our dependence on foreign sources of energy — dirty, polluting sources of energy," Rhone Resch, president of the trade group Solar Energy Industries Association, told the Times. "It's scaring away investment, just as our industry is beginning to get a toehold. Solar projects are already being delayed."

The legislation also provides incentives for homeowners and home builders to adopt more energy efficient practices.

"Our members build homes that are significantly more energy efficient than those of a generation ago," Jerry M. Howard, executive vice president of the National Association of Home Builders, told the Times. "But in today's economic climate, home builders need incentives to spur them to even more action."

We need real leadership on this issue in Washington, but it is folly to expect we'll get it from the children playing playground politics in the two chambers.

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