23 August 2011

Subsidizing subsidized industry…somewhere else

“Curiouser and curiouser”, cried Alice, so overcome by the photograph that she momentarily forgot how to speak English properly.

“Is it some sort of uniform?”


“Might well be,”  her companion said, “since they are all members of the Muskrat Club.”

“And who is that man there on the end,” asked Alice.  “The fellow doesn’t seem to belong.”


Let us look at the provincial government’s official news release and see.

“Book ends!” Alice’s companion exclaimed.  “The Governor of Rhode Island on the left standing next to the Blue Queen and on the right, the man who runs Rhode Island’s  largest energy consumer.”

A plastics company.

Seems the Rhode Island state legislature plans to give the company a million dollars to see if it will grow larger.

“The money was going to be a loan but now it is a non-repayable contribution,”  explained Alice’s companion.

“A gift, then,” said Alice, unhelpfully.

A non-repayable contribution,” her companion corrected.  “There’s a difference.”

“Where?” asked Alice, looking about. “I don’t like differences.  No two are ever the same. That’s why they are called differences, don’t you know.”

Her companion went back to his reading.

The state government is also helping Toray install a new solar power system to help power the plant.

“And so he talked to the Blue Queen,” said Alice, as she checked under the chesterfield for the difference, “who is an expert is giving gifts…”.

Her companion coughed.

“alright then, non-repayable contributions,” continued Alice, pronouncing the words very carefully.

At once, Alice gave up looking but still seemed quite satisfied that she had, at last, got the hang of the contributions.

After a long pause, Alice looked at her companion.  “Rhode Island?  Isn’t that the place where the Blue Queen once tried to sell electricity before?”

“Yes,”  her companion replied. “But the electricity was too expensive for them to buy. So now the Blue Queen knows that if she sells power to them she will have to give it to them for less than it cost her to make it.”

“What a very odd idea,” said Alice.

“And much less than the people who own the electricity will have to pay for it.”

“Odder still,” exclaimed Alice.

She made a face and rubbed her chin as if in thought.

“I suppose the Blue Queen does not really know where she is going, “ said Alice after a while.

“When you do not know where you are going, you might think that any Rhode will get you there.”

- srbp -