Conspicuously absent from President Obama’s “jobs speech” last week was the “green jobs” refrain that punctuated prior rhetorical efforts.
Looking on the bright side, perhaps the President’s economic team has finally gotten it through their skulls that quixotic wind and solar investments have been a bust.
The more likely reason “green jobs” didn’t accompany “pass this bill now” in the President’s solo rendition of “Son of Stimulus” was the recent bankruptcy filing of California-based Solyndra—a solar energy company that stiffed around a thousand former workers just two years after receiving a cool half-billion dollars of government assistance.
To make this environmental disaster even more embarrassing for the administration, FBI agents carted away documents from the company’s Fremont headquarters in order to investigate possible hanky-panky.
The political smoke that suggests fire arises from the cozy relationship between the White House and Solyndra—especially the tie with George Kaiser, one of Solyndra’s key backers who donated $53,000 to Obama’s 2008 campaign and helped “bundle” thousands more. White House visitor logs also show twenty visits by Solyndra officials and investors, most by Kaiser, between March, 2009, and April, 2011.
Even worse on the appearance-of-impropriety scale, the Obama administration “fast-tracked” the company’s loan application to the Department of Energy in 2009—a decision later criticized by the Government Accountability Office.
Back in the giddy days of Stimulus 1.0, President Obama specifically pointed to Solyndra as a model of green-energy success. At least Mr. Obama was correct on one score. Solyndra is a “model”—of government cronyism and market manipulation.
According to Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison, “Regulatory and policy uncertainties in recent months created significant near-term excess supply and price erosion.” In plain English this verbal smokescreen means that today’s solar market is largely a function of government subsidies.
“Excess supply” (as was the case with mortgages and housing in the prior decade) refers to government policies, in the U.S. and abroad, that have created another bubble that’s in the process of bursting. Case in point: Two other solar companies, SpectraWatt and Evergreen Solar, filed for bankruptcy just weeks before Solyndra.
Meanwhile, according to government sources cited by the New York Times, other Obama “green jobs” programs in the Golden State have netted less than 1,300 jobs at the price of over 150 million dollars.
Still, Malibu-minded Congressman Henry Waxman, along with Gov. Brown and Sacramento’s ruling Democrats, continue to pursue the illusion of “green jobs”—a fantasy that even a New York Times piece suggests is a very expensive “pipe dream.”
Get the shovel ready—not for jobs, but to clean up the mess.