Barking up the wrong tree

In Columns by Hal Peterson1 Comment

Each week, The Herald, a Long Island community newspaper publishes a column written by former state senator Alfonse D’Amato. The following caught my attention. “Our economy: If it’s gonna break, don’t wait to fix it.” Why, he considers Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc. electric car company an overvalued unsustainable money losing operation; and, his “Solar City” venture in Buffalo an aberration with “cheaper, heavily subsidized, foreign-made solar panels flooding the U.S. market.”

All of the above leads the former senator to conclude “supposed gold-plated investments like Tesla and Solar City are probably true good to be true, and the current market bubble fueled by “irrational exuberance.” He suggests “our leaders in Washington take notice before the country slips into another recession that could be worse than the last one.”

Why D’Amato has ventured down the path described is hard to understand. The Elon Musk’s of the world are not the problem, nor were the likes of Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, Howard Hughes, Steve Jobs, and legendary Nikola Tesla who dedicated their energies and fortunes inventing a future we marvel at today.

Need I cite Tesla’s Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (Space X) program with rockets being recovered on the very site they were launched from, transforming the market place for satellite communications; or the fact that Tesla (formally Tesla Motors) Model S all-electric vehicle has taken a 30% share in the $100K plus market, with their much anticipated Model 3 currently in production. A definite shot across the bow of the entire automobile manufacturing business.

Last but not least, D’Amato’s mention that Tesla’s $1 billion Solar City plant is sitting idle in South Buffalo, bears little resemblance to what is actually going on.  One of the co-partners, the Panasonic Corporation recently started building solar modules at the completed 1.3 million sq. ft. factory, and Tesla, has started the production of a new mega-dramatic roofing tiles that are also solar power generators.

As is the case with all new technology, the future is indeed uncertain as is the creation of new jobs. I believe, to correct the senator, we are dealing with “rational exuberance” and the very best of a new market economy.  Fix-it. You batcha, Elon and others are doing it.

Hal Peterson






  1. Hal
    I agree with your positive take on our new entrepreneurs. We need all the new ideas we can get.
    I notice today however, that the Solar plant in Buffalo is going bankrupt. Too bad.
    John T

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