"Human reason can neither predict nor deliberately shape its own future. Its advances consist in finding out where it has been wrong." — Frederick. Hayek
How many times have we heard statist say that that government has the answers for our problems and that all we need to do is try a bit harder and spend more of your money. His is the god complex of the liberal.
I recall, while in high school, I read the book Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell. Sister Bessie and Dude, two of the characters in the book, buy a new Ford automobile for the purpose of traveling around the country. Over time the car falls into disrepair due to an accident and lack of proper maintenance. Dude doesn’t know a thing about automobiles, but he heard somewhere that by adjusting the needle valve on the carburetor (something automobiles don’t use anymore) he could make the car run properly. After many attempts at tinkering with the engine the car never did run and it sat in front of Jeeter’s ramshackle house.
Obama is the new Dude. He was given a nation to oversee and after his tinkering by his czars the economy has not run very well, if at all. The latest evidence of his tinkering is in Freemont, California. Solyndra, a major manufacturer of solar technology in Fremont, has shut its doors, according to employees at the campus. Solyndra was touted by the Obama administration as a prime example of how green technology could deliver jobs. The President visited the facility in May of last year and said “it is just a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism and the fact that we continue to have the best universities in the world, the best technology in the world, and most importantly the best workers in the world. And you guys all represent that.” The federal government ponied up $535 million in low cost loan guarantees from the Department of Energy for this tinkering and Barack Obama touted his achievements while the main stream media heaped praise on his “green jobs” programs. (Click here to see the failure of Obama’s 29 million dollar green job bust in Seattle, Washington).
The Obama administration has been trying to foist green industry on uninterested Americans since he first stepped in to office three years ago. So far, the efforts have been less than successful. The Chevy Volt has miserable sales, wind-power has proven to be something less than a viable alternative, and now it appears that reality is catching up with solar power as well.
Solyndra is a solar panel maker that was propped up by the administration having been awarded over half a billion dollars in loan guarantees. Now, the company is going under and taking all that money and 1,100 employees jobs with it.
Solyndra is a solar panel maker that was propped up by the administration having been awarded over half a billion dollars in loan guarantees. Now, the company is going under and taking all that money and 1,100 employees’ jobs with it.
Solyndra, a California solar panel maker, had long been an administration favorite. Over the past two years, President Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu each had made congratulatory visits to the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters in Freemont, California. Each visit was accompanied by a covey of ogling reporters ready to write the story of an administration success in the green jobs marketplace. Oh, how wonderful it was going to be.
According to the Washington Post:
“Although Wednesday’s announcement came as a surprise, House Republicans and government auditors had questioned the wisdom of the administration’s loan guarantees to the company, backed by capital from billionaire Democratic fundraiser George Kaiser. In July, a House subcommittee subpoenaed White House documents related to the guarantee, and after Wednesday’s developments, Republican lawmakers vowed to continue investigating.”
The RNC has released a video that documents the rhetoric and the reality that has surrounded this big government test case
On July 14th an article in the Washington Post stated:
“Republicans on the committee have been investigating how the Energy Department chose Solyndra to receive its first loan guarantee for innovative technology under the federal stimulus plan. After the 2009 approval, Solyndra ran into financial difficulty and canceled a planned public stock offering.
Some of the biggest investors in Solyndra were venture capital funds associated with Tulsa billionaire George Kaiser, a key Obama fundraiser. Some Republicans have questioned whether the administration rushed stimulus funding out the door to benefit its political supporters.
After spirited debate on Thursday, Republicans on the oversight and investigations subcommittee voted to subpoena e-mail and other documents related to Solyndra that they said OMB officials had failed to produce voluntarily.
Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said before the vote on Thursday, “This is not a step this committee takes lightly.” Upton said the committee “has an institutional obligation to obtain information from the executive branch so it can carry out its duties.”
Democrats argued that the White House was doing its best to comply with investigators, but that requests so far had been overly broad and, in the words of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), a “fishing expedition.”
The resolution authorizing the subpoena passed 14 to 8 on a straight party vote.”
According to a report by Bay Area NBC
“Shortly after it opened a massive $700 million facility, it canceled plans for a public stock offering earlier this year and warned it would be in significant trouble if federal loan guarantees did not go through.
The company has said it will make a statement at 9am California time, though it's not clear what that statement will be. An NBC Bay Area photographer on the scene reports security guards are not letting visitors on campus. He says "people are standing around in disbelief." The employees have been given yellow envelopes with instructions on how to get their last checks.
Solyndra was touted by the Obama administration as a prime example of how green technology could deliver jobs. The President visited the facility in May of last year and said "it is just a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism and the fact that we continue to have the best universities in the world, the best technology in the world, and most importantly the best workers in the world. And you guys all represent that. "
The reasons for Solyndra’s failure are simple enough. Consumers simply haven’t expressed an interest in paying the exorbitant fees associated with upgrading to solar, even with the massive subsidies that are available.
But solar industry analyst Peter Lynch said that Solyndra struggled from the beginning with an imbalanced financial model. “You make something in a factory and it costs $6, you sell it for $3, but you really, really need to sell it for $1.50 to be competitive,” Lynch said of Solyndra. “It was an insane business model. The numbers just don’t work, and they never did.”
It’s pretty clear that President Obama knew that this was the case judging by how much effort he has put into shutting down the coal industry in hopes that American’s would have no other alternative but to fulfill his dreams of green industry and carbon trading.
I have solar panels on my house in order to reduce my energy costs. It’s a fairly large investment and if you have a low electric bill the ROI probably will not work out very well. I happen to live in an area where temperatures during July, August, and September average at the 100 degree mark and with the AC running my electric bill can get pretty high. When we did the cost/benefit calculations for our investment in solar it made sense for us. This is not the case for many home owners.
During the installation of our solar panels I check on the source of the panels and they were made in China. No doubt those lost Solyndra jobs will never be recovered.
In March of 2010 BP announced it was closing its solar panel manufacturing facility in Frederick Maryland and moving the whole operation to hina and India. The Washington Post reported:
“BP will close its solar-panel manufacturing plant in Frederick, the final step in moving its solar business out of the United States to facilities in China, India and other countries.
Just 3 1/2 years ago, in an announcement widely hailed by Maryland officials and promoters of "green jobs," BP unveiled a $70 million plan to double output at the facility and erected a building to house the production lines.
But on Friday the company said it would lay off 320 workers and keep only a hundred people involved in research, sales and project development. BP said laid-off employees would receive full pay and benefits for three months, followed by severance packages and job-placement assistance. The company, unable to sell or lease the building, will tear it down.”
Solyndra, like BP and the Seattle debacle are just a few examples of Obama’s miserable failures at creating green or any other jobs. The taxpayers are on the hook for billions in wasted dollars for these failed policies. The government cannot create sustainable jobs in a free market. The government can only create government jobs that further sap our economy with bloated civil service salaries and unfunded pension liabilities.
No doubt in his jobs speech next Thursday Obama will still tout his green jobs and an infrastructure bank. This will be another example of central planning and it too will fail as his “shovel ready” jobs program has. I have written extensively about infrastructure funding and the fallacy of high speed rail. We have a president and a covey of advisors with absolutely no knowledge or experience in creating jobs in the free market. Even his jobs czar, Jeffery Immelt the CEO of GE, is more concerned with exporting jobs to China and India and not paying taxes than creating job in the United States.
I take no joy in a company going under, much less the loss of income for those 1,100 people that worked there. As the real estate sector continues to struggle, banks that had received TARP are in danger of financial meltdown, publicly financed cars sit on the showroom floor with no buyers, and government guaranteed corporations with unsustainable business models go under – is it perhaps time to consider that whether it’s TARP, auto bailouts or stimulus loans, the market is much better at picking winners and losers than Barack Obama or George W. Bush?