Back in March of 2008, I started the Blogs Against Kleptocracy series with a post about industries imposing ‘nonsense taxes’ on consumers, taxes that compensate an industry for either failing to make money or failing to adequately address fundamental changes to their business model. And to illustrate the point, I made up some examples of nonsense taxes including this:
Big Coal will lobby for a ‘green tax’ that compensates them for revenue lost due to consumers switching to green power generation, buying energy efficient appliances, and turning off lights. Reduce your electricity consumption by 20%, and BANG! the tax kicks in.
At the time it seemed like a joke, but a year later Xcel Energy is proposing just such a tax—in this case a fee for customers who have the temerity to install solar panels, cutting their energy consumption or eliminating it entirely. Don’t use enough of Xcel’s energy, and bang the fee kicks in. And to add insult to injury, Xcel describes this as a way of ‘leveling the playing field’ for their non-solar customers, arguing that solar customers are getting a ‘free ride’. Despite the fact that no non-solar Xcel customer pays extra to fund anything having to do with solar energy redistribution or energy efficiency incentives.
So now, in the Kleptocracy that this country has become, consumers will progressively be penalized for not consuming.