Obamaâ€™s Green â€œInvestmentsâ€ Drown In Red Ink … Deroy Murdock
J.D. Longstreet | July 29, 2012
Sacrificing taxpayer dollars on the altar of green ideology is destroying our economy
Deroy Murdockâ€œWeâ€™ll invest $15 billion a year over the next decade in renewable energy, creating five million new green jobs that pay well, canâ€™t be outsourced, and help end our dependence on foreign oil,â€ candidate Barack Obama pledged in a November 1, 2008 radio address.
Three years and eight months later, as unemployment has exceeded 8 percent for 41 straight months, Obama seems incapable of keeping this promise. With the worst employment figures since at least 1948, when the Bureau of Labor Statisticsâ€™ started measuring them, Obama has made a dogâ€™s breakfast of jobs â€“ green and otherwise.
Consider three key Department of Energy programs. DOEâ€™s website boasts that its â€œclean energyâ€ initiatives â€“ dubbed 1703, 1705, and Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) â€“ loaned $34.7 billion and launched â€œnearly 60,000â€ jobs. This totals a staggering $578,333 per position.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, private employers pay average workers $62,757 in wages and benefits. So, Obama is â€œcreating jobsâ€ at 922 percent of the private sectorâ€™s cost. Thus, for every green job that Obama supposedly spawns with taxpayer dollars and borrowed Chinese money, private enterprises could hire nine people.
Obama touts green-energy â€œinvestments,â€ even though this is not Obamaâ€™s money to invest. Rather than choose winners and losers, which would be bad enough, Team Obama picks losers. It subsidized at least ten â€œcleanâ€ companies that went kaput.
â€¢ Abound Solar consumed $70 million of its $400 million Energy Department loan guarantee. The Loveland, Colorado-based company blamed Chinese subsidy payments and European subsidy cuts for falling prices in its thin-film-panel sector. On July 2, Abound Solar filed for Chapter 7 liquidation and prepared to lock shop and fire its 125 employees.
â€¢ Solar Trust envisioned Earthâ€™s largest solar-power plant. DOE enthusiastically offered it a $2.1 billion loan guarantee in April 2011, provided that it raised private capital. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar attended the companyâ€™s Blythe, California groundbreaking and hailed â€œa historic moment in Americaâ€™s new energy frontier.â€ Solar Trust missed DOEâ€™s benchmarks, however, and announced Chapter 11 bankruptcy last April 2.
â€¢ Energy Conversion Devices, a solar-laminate supplier, received a $13.3 million Stimulus tax credit in January 2010 to update its Auburn Hills, Michigan factory and hire some 600 people. ECD pleaded Chapter 11 bankruptcy last Valentineâ€™s Day.
â€¢ Ener1 received a $118.5 million DOE Stimulus grant in August 2009. Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Greenfield, Indiana to tour Ener1 on January 26, 2011. â€œHere at Ener1,â€ Biden said, â€œweâ€™re going to harness electricity and bring it to the world, like Edison did more than a century ago.â€ The electric-car battery company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last January 26, exactly one year after Bidenâ€™s visit.
â€¢ Aptera Motors aspired to build three-wheel electric cars. DOE offered it a $150 million ATVM loan, conditioned upon Apteraâ€™s raising $150 million in non-government capital. Aptera never convinced private investors to finance glorified tricycles. So, last December 2, CEO Paul Wilber stated: â€œAfter years of focused effort to bring our products to the market, Aptera Motors is closing its doors, effective today.â€
â€¢ Massachusetts-based Beacon Power Corp. received a $43 million loan guarantee in October 2010 â€“ DOEâ€™s second such subsidy. The energy-storage concern declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 30, 2011.
â€¢ Solyndra, the most notorious of Obamaâ€™s green-energy baubles, filed for bankruptcy on August 31, 2011. Taxpayers are liable for this solar-panel makerâ€™s $535 million in loan guarantees â€“ the first that DOE made under Obama.
In death, Solyndra has proved to be anything but green. As San Franciscoâ€™s KCBS-TV reported last April, Solyndraâ€™s Milpitas, California facility features metal drums marked â€œHazardous Waste.â€ Cadmium, lead, unidentified black chemicals, and other toxins haunt the premises. A company called iStar said it would remove these poisons â€” as soon as Solyndra pays its bills.
Solyndra also discarded still-valuable solar-panel components, even though selling them could have generated capital to reimburse it creditors, including Americaâ€™s taxpayers.
â€¢ In June 2009, SpectraWatt scored a $500,000 grant from the DOEâ€™s National Renewable Energy Laboratory PV Technology Pre-Incubator program and $150,000 from the National Science Foundation in June 2010. Facing stiff Chinese competition, this solar-cell manufacturer closed its Hopewell Junction, New York factory and dismissed all of its 117 workers in April 2011. SpectraWatt filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on August 19, 2011.
â€¢ Raser Technologies received a $33 million Treasury Department Stimulus grant in February 2010. As its dreams of a geothermal plant in Beaver County, Utah turned to steam, its payroll subsequently evaporated from 42 workers to 27 to 10. Raser declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2011.
â€¢ Despite Mountain Plaza, Inc.â€™s 2003 bankruptcy, the EPA decided to inject $424,000 in Stimulus funds for that Tennessee companyâ€™s â€œtruck-stop electrificationâ€ technology. Nonetheless, Mountain Plaza again went bankrupt on June 3, 2010. EPA officially awarded those funds 12 days later, despite Mountain Plazaâ€™s insolvency and a related lawsuit.
These doomed projects alone devoured $3.4 billion in taxpayer funds and commitments.
Rather than slam Mitt Romneyâ€™s tenure at Bain Capital â€“ which deployed private capital behind Staples, Sports Authority, and other still-thriving corporations â€“ President Obama should beg taxpayersâ€™ forgiveness for pouring their hard-earned cash down at least ten â€œgreenâ€ rat holes.
___________________New York commentator Deroy Murdock is a Fox News Contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. This column was originally published by National Review Online in July 2012.
Contributor's website: http://csadispatch.blogspot.com/
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