Obama's Epic Green Fail
As we get into the campaign season (has Obama ever left it?), some recollections of what President Barack Hussein Obama said and has done (courtesy of Peter Schweizer and Ashe Schow) are both humorous and instructive. Humorous because you have to laugh at what Obama has said and done to keep from crying. Instructive because this is what we can expect from Obama (and more) if he gets re-elected.
Peter Schweizer, in his book Throw Them All Out, told us that Obama said that taxpayer money would not be doled out to political friends. "Decisions about how Recovery Act dollars are spent will be based on the merit," Obama said, referring to the 2009 stimulus. "Let me repeat that: decisions about how recovery money will be spent will be based on the merits. They will not be made as a way of doing favors for lobbyists."
I guess the word "lobbyists" provides Obama with an "out" since none of the CEOs of the green energy companies he backed are registered as lobbyists. Just like with the last Democrat president this country had, every word uttered must carefully be parsed. But then, I don't know the meaning of the word "is."
Anyway, Obama was emphatic about how recovery money was to be spent. But...as Schweizer says, the 1705 Loan Guarantee Program and the 1603 Grant Program funneled billions of dollars to alternative-fuel and green-power companies. The loan guarantees and grants were earmarked for green energy projects, so it is not surprising to learn that these companies were run by liberals. And guess what! Eighty percent of the Department of Energy (DOE)'s green loans, loan guarantees, and grants went to Obama backers. As Gomer Pyle used to say, "Surprise, surprise, surprise."
Schweizer wrote, "... a large proportion of the winners [companies receiving loans, loan guarantees, and grants] were companies with Obama-campaign connections. At least 10 members of Obama's finance committee and more than a dozen of his campaign bundlers were big winners in getting your money. At the same time, several politicians who supported Obama managed to strike gold by launching alternative-energy companies and obtaining grants." How much? Schweizer continues, "In the 1705 government-backed-loan program, $16.4 billion of the $20.5 billion in loans granted as of September 15  went to companies either run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers."
Schweizer further wrote, "The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been highly critical of the way guaranteed loans and grants were doled out by the DOE, complaining that the process appears 'arbitrary' and lacks transparency. In March 2011, for example, the GAO examined the first 18 loans that were approved and found that none were properly documented. It also noted that officials 'did not always record the results of analysis' of these applications. A loan program for electric cars, for example, 'lacks performance measures.' No notes were kept during the review process, so it is difficult to determine how loan decisions were made." (Author's note: based on evidence, we know how loan decisions were made!)
Schweizer concludes, "DOE Inspector General Gregory Friedman chastised the alternative-energy loan and grant programs for their absence of 'sufficient transparency and accountability.' He testified that contracts have been steered to 'friends and family.'"
So with all that in mind, let's turn our attention to what has actually happened since Obama took office.
- SunPower, after receiving $1.5 billion from DOE, is reorganizing, cutting jobs.
- First Solar, after receiving $1.46 billion from DOE, is reorganizing, cutting jobs.
- Solyndra, after receiving $535 million from DOE, filed for bankruptcy protection.
- Ener1, after receiving $118.5 million from DOE, filed for bankruptcy protection.
- Evergreen Solar, after receiving millions of dollars from the state of Massachusetts, filed for bankruptcy protection.
- SpectraWatt, backed by Intel and Goldman Sachs, filed for bankruptcy protection.
- Beacon Power, after receiving $43 million from DOE, filed for bankruptcy protection.
- Abound Solar, after receiving $400 million from DOE, filed for bankruptcy protection.
- Amonix, after receiving $5.9 million from DOE, filed for bankruptcy protection.
- Babcock & Brown (an Australian company), after receiving $178 million from DOE, filed for bankruptcy protection.
- A123 Systems, after receiving $279 million from DOE, shipped some bad batteries and is barely operating. It cut jobs.
- Solar Trust for America, after receiving a $2.1-billion loan guarantee from DOE, filed for bankruptcy protection.
- Nevada Geothermal, after receiving $98.5 million from DOE, warns of potential defaults in new SEC filings.
And that's a partial list. Can Obama and the DOE pick 'em, or what? And all those bankruptcies have an effect on green jobs that Obama promised.
Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), said, "If projects like this [speaking about Nevada Geothermal] did not contain a certain level of risk, alongside their enormous potential for creating jobs and generating clean energy, there would be no need for the bipartisan loan guarantee program."
Creating jobs? Generating clean energy? How are these projects creating and generating in light of all the bankruptcies and reorganizations? Obama promised in 2008 that a $150-billion investment would generate 5 million jobs over 10 years. The White House said in November 2010 that its clean-energy efforts had generated work for 225,000 people. Let's see. Obama promised 5 million jobs, and as of 2010, 225,000 had been created. He has some work to do if he wants to keep that jobs promise.
For comparison, "Big Oil" has added 75,000 jobs since Obama took office in 2009, while the wind industry has lost 10,000 jobs since 2009.
Obama supporters say that he over-promised on the jobs front and worry that a backlash could undermine support for his clean-energy policies. Duh! You think?
Because green energy companies can no longer or coud not ever attract enough willing investors, Obama and like-minded politicians force the rest of us to "invest" (via subsidies) in them, so we can "Win The Future." Will Obama's next green energy initiative be named his "Five Year Plan"?
Dr. Beatty earned a Ph.D. in quantitative management and statistics from Florida State University. He was a (very conservative) professor of quantitative management specializing in using statistics to assist/support decision-making. He has been a consultant to many small businesses and is now retired. Dr. Beatty is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. He blogs at rwno.limewebs.com.