By now, almost everybody realizes that President Obama’s “stimulus” billions to so-called “green energy” projects were a textbook example of why crony capitalism and central planning don’t work. Over a dozen taxpayer-backed companies have already failed. Think Solyndra. And incredibly, according to several studies, the worst may be yet to come.
After spending – or squandering, as critics would say – over $100 billion to support “clean energy” initiatives in the last few years, taxpayer backing for the dubious schemes is set to start drying up soon without congressional action. The problem, though, is that all of the subsidies created a gigantic “industry” – wind energy, solar power and more – that is completely dependent on federal money for its very existence.
“They’re basically going to disappear,” economist Benjamin Zycher with the American Enterprise Institute was quoted as saying. “They’re woefully uneconomical.” Of course, if the ventures made any sense, the market would have funded them – see Economics 101. The Obamanomics faithful, however, see the world much differently.
The state of California – with its massive unemployment, exorbitant taxes, disappearing middle class, outrageous budget deficits, absurdly high energy prices, and a landscape scarred by the remains of non-functioning wind mills and the carcasses of dead birds – is leading the way. And President Obama seems determined to make sure that the nation follows the Golden State straight off a cliff into the green abyss.
As the nearly trillion-dollar “stimulus” gravy train prepares to run out of steam, the whole “green-energy” industry – which depends almost entirely on extracting wealth from the productive sector of the economy via government – is bracing for collapse. Several studies released in recent weeks show that a new tsunami of “green” bankruptcies is coming soon; unless, of course, the federal government continues to subsidize the schemes indefinitely.
But with two congressional committees investigating the administration’s energy scandals, the political appetite to sink even more taxpayer money into green boondoggles is shriveling – and rightly so. The House Oversight Committee chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has been probing the broader green waste, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee looked into the Solyndra debacle. What they found was ugly.
“The paper trail released by the White House portrays a disturbingly close relationship between President Obama’s West Wing inner circle, campaign donors, and wealthy investors that spawned the Solyndra mess,” noted Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) on the Energy Committee. Experts consider that an understatement. The administration’s stonewalling, meanwhile, may be helping to conceal even greater scandals as-yet undiscovered.
The Oversight Committee said the bigger picture was just as disturbing, with Rep. Issa explaining that the Department of Energy’s implementation of the so-called “American Recovery and Reinvestment” stimulus Act was “plagued by missed goals, waste of taxpayer funds, and loan guarantees to companies that have failed.” Indeed. What did people expect? “The American people have a right to know why DOE … has wasted billions of dollars of their money,” Issa wrote in a letter to Obama’s very uncooperative Energy commissar Steven Chu.
Congress found that the vast majority of companies Obama’s Department of Energy “invested” in had junk bond ratings, leading members of Congress to conclude that Chu either displayed startling incompetence or was simply helping out his politically connected buddies. Maybe it was both.
It turns out most of the firms and their leaders were indeed very close to the administration, the Democratic Party, and top Democrats. At least half were actually raising money for them. In some cases the cronies were even rewarded for their support with tax-funded bonuses prior to bankruptcy.
Even government investigators and hard-core environmentalists are ringing alarm bells about the controversial green schemes.
As analysts have pointed out, though, the green scams – funneling tax money to crony companies that shovel it back into democratic campaign coffers – has been going on since the 1990s at least. Vice President Al Gore was apparently an early pioneer. And Obama seems to have mastered the deceptive art very well.
Incredibly, however, the scandal-plagued administration just keeps pushing. “I’m proud to say that we’re going to continue to support it,” Obama said of green energy during a recent radio interview, citing Communist China’s “green” subsidy policies to justify the continuing unconstitutional waste of Americans’ tax money.
Never mind the fact that much of the loot needed to keep up the scam will have to be borrowed from the Chinese regime or printed by the Federal Reserve at interest. Obama is bound and determined to keep the charade going even as the green collapse accelerates all around him.
Instead of admitting that the schemes were a stunning failure costing hard-working taxpayers billions of dollars, Obama tried to deflect the blame, saying Congress and the Communist Chinese regime were responsible as well. “This was not our program, per se,” he claimed recently; after very publicly touting Solyndra and other green boondoggles as success stories before they went bankrupt.
Rather than offering American entrepreneurs the freedom to innovate in the market place, the administration and its radical regulators continue to foist ever greater impediments on the real energy sector. No drilling. More regulations. More taxes. More cronyism. More uncertainty. A popular video making the rounds online even suggests the government could not do a better job of ensuring that America fails if it was actually trying.
There is one place Obama supports oil exploration though: Brazil. Yes, Brazil. Obama supports drilling in South America so much that his administration offered billions of public dollars to the state-controlled energy giant Petrobras through the crony-capitalist “Export-Import Bank.” Meanwhile, the Communist Cuban dictatorship is collaborating with its Chinese counterparts to start drilling right in Florida’s backyard – in a safe and environmentally friendly way to be sure.
The United Nations, meanwhile, is planning to foist the “green economy” nightmare on the entire world and all of its inhabitants. People’s consumption, lifestyles, opinions, education, governments, and more are all in the UN’s crosshairs, according to official documents, as the global body prepares for the upcoming conference on “sustainable development” in Rio de Janeiro this June.
Of course, pressure to stop all of the absurdity is building, too. Lawmakers are getting fed up, with more than a few suggesting that the “green energy” scandals could play a significant role in the upcoming elections. The organization Americans for Prosperity is planning to expose the fraud with a powerful $6 million ad blitz.
In the meantime, however – as America moves ever closer to drowning in an ocean of government debt – increasingly poor Americans will have to keep dealing with the green consequences of crony capitalism and central planning: wealth destruction, more and higher taxes, soaring energy prices, less innovation and widespread corruption. Will we ever learn?