Obama has given over $16 billion to “green” companies with ties to campaign contributors. As his solar contributors continue to fail in headline making bankruptcies he starts a trade war with China to protect them.
Mark J. Perry at Carpe Diem has the story:
On behalf of American consumers, a slightly edited version of this afternoon’s NY Times article “U.S. Slaps High Tariffs on Chinese Solar Panels” Americans Who Purchase Solar Panels Made in China”:”The United States Commerce Department said Thursday that it has decided to impose tariffs (taxes) of more than 31 percent on Americans who purchase solar panels imported from China, after concluding that Chinese producers had generously “dumped” lowered the prices of solar panels on the American market for to less than it costs to manufacture and ship them, saving Americans millions of dollars.
The tariffs, which are retroactive to 90 days before the decision, are in addition to anti-subsidy tariffs (taxes) of 2.9 percent to 4.73 percent that the department imposed on American consumers in March. Since Chinese panels make up a large portion of the American market, the combined anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs are likely to mean a substantial increase in the price of solar panels here for American consumers.
SolarWorld Industries America, which led the coalition special interest cartel of domestic solar manufacturers that filed the solar dumping case, welcomed the department’s ruling. The anti-consumer decision “is a very positive step in the process. It’s also in line with what we expected as a special interest group of domestic producers seeking protection from global competition,” said Ben Santarris, a company spokesman. “We consider this a bellwether case of the government protecting the self-interest of domestic producers seeking protection against foreign competitors. It underscores the importance of manufacturing special interest groups to the U.S. economy Congress seeking to increase political power, votes and support by catering to concentrated special interests.”
Dr. Mark J. Perry is a professor of economics and finance in the School of Management at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan. Perry holds two graduate degrees in economics (M.A. and Ph.D.) from George Mason University near Washington, D.C. In addition, he holds an MBA degree in finance from the Curtis L. Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. He blogs at Carpe Diem.
And consider this:
Brightsource DOE Funding Exposes Obama Cronyism
By Romina Boccia at The Foundry
A congressional hearing on May 16 exposed further details on just the kind of political maneuvering that was going on between the Obama Administration and beneficiaries of Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantees. Emails revealed during the hearing are the tip of the iceberg in a corrupt federal funding process that first came under congressional scrutiny with the failure of Solyndra.
Solar company BrightSource Energy received an even bigger loan guarantee from DOE than Solyndra did. In April 2011, the company received $1.6 billion for its Ivanpah project in California—more than triple the size of Solyndra’s loan guarantee of $535 million! BrightSource’s CEO, John Woolard, claims that at its peak, the project would create 1,400 jobs. That would amount to $1.43 million for every job created.
John McArdle reports that in an email sent 15 months before the BrightSource loan was finalized, Woolard wrote an email to Matt Rogers, then DOE’s top adviser on the administration of stimulus funds. Woolard wrote, according to Greenwire:
…that Peter Darbee, head of Pacific Gas & Electric Co., “talked directly to Obama about the program’s challenges and the bad situation it puts him in. DOE credibility is thin and I am currently trying to put off [communication] with the Hill until we talk.” Rogers replied that he appreciated the heads-up and was “working it on this end.”
Merely a month before the BrightSource loan came through, another email exchange occurred between then-BrightSource Chairman John Bryson (who was nominated by President Obama to serve as Commerce Secretary in May 2011 and was confirmed to the post last October) and Jonathan Silver, who was in charge of the DOE loan program. The email was addressed to then-White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley but was never sent to him, over concerns that it might not be appropriate.
“The White House needs to focus on finalizing the loan guarantee for what would be the largest solar thermal project in the world,” Bryson wrote in the draft.
“We need a commitment from the [White House] to quarterback loan closure between [the Office of Management and Budget] and DOE by March 18 to avoid having our project jeopardized by larger budget politics.”
Even before these emails appeared, BrightSource became known as heavily politically connected. In his new book, Throw Them All Out, Peter Schweizer reported that Sanjay Wagle, a major player in BrightSource’s largest shareholder, Vantage Point, and an Obama fundraiser, “was installed at the Department of Energy (DOE), advising on energy grants.”
These revelations demonstrate that federal processes to supply loan guarantees and other subsidies are steeped in political favoritism. The only solution to get this cronyism out of government is to get government out of the business of picking market winners among its political friends. This can be done by ending all energy subsidies and freeing up energy markets for companies to compete to create the most value for consumers.
Emails show the White House adamantly kept the GSA away from Solyndra right before it illegally restructured the failed loan to protect a big Obama campaign donor leaving taxpayers on the hook for over $500 million.
And this from AFP:
The nearly $1 trillion stimulus bill that President Obama pushed after taking office was supposed to revive the economy, but it was really all about installing the Left’s vision to transform America. A major part of the transformation is an attempt to defy the laws of economics and have politically-connected campaign donors and Washington central planners decide what kind of energy the country should use. The stimulus was packed with giveaways that allowed dozens of so-called “green” energy projects to sap taxpayer funds to advance Obama’s vision. However,they could only ignore market economics for so long and now the projects are starting to collapse. Who’s left holding the bill? Taxpayers.
SOLYNDRA - $535 Million, Bankrupt
The California solar panel manufacturer received the very first stimulus green energy loan guarantee on September 4, 2009. Despite repeated warnings by Obama administration career and political staff that the company was not sound, the loan guarantee was rushed out the door.Two years later the company closed its doors, laid off 1,100 employees, and filed for bankruptcy.Two days after that, agents from the FBI raided the company’s headquarters. Solyndra CEO George Kaiser and other executives bundled more than $100,000 in Obama campaign donations;they also visited the White House over 20 times while the loan was being reviewed.
BEACON POWER – $43 million, bankrupt
The Massachusetts-based company received a $43 million loan guarantee to build a 20-megawattflywheel energy storage plant in Stephen town, New York. Beacon was one of the first three recipients of federal backing. Despite the steep price-tag Obama administration officials estimated that it would “create or save” just 14 permanent jobs and create 20 temporary construction jobs. Citing the “current economic and political climate,” the onerous terms of the federal loan guarantee, and the company’s inability to obtain equity financing due to its recent delisting from the NASDAQ stock exchange, the company filed for bankruptcy on October 30.The company also got $29 billion in federal and Pennsylvania state grants for a 20-megawattplant in the Keystone State.
FISKER – $529 million stimulus for Finland
Collapsing companies aren’t the only green stimulus scandal. The Obama administration has also approved a plan by electric car company Fisker to use part of its $529 million federal stimulus loan guarantee to build its manufacturing facility, and the 500 jobs it supports, in Finland. The company is more than a year behind schedule to roll out its $97,000 luxury electric car, Karma. There have also been questions about the energy savings that Fisker says its electric car would bring. In a free market, companies should seek out the best place to produce their products. However, once politicians start handing out taxpayer dollars to support projects they prefer, sending our money to Finland to support manufacturing jobs is highly suspect.
SEVERSTAL – $730 million, under investigation
In an October 20thletter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa questioned why Severstal North America, a subsidiary of a leading Russian steel and mining company owned by wealthy business tycoon Alexei Mordashov, received a $730 million loan guarantee from the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program. The loan supports improvements to the company’s advanced high strength steel plant in Dearborn, Michigan. Issa questioned the necessity of the loan given the company’s ample ability to self-finance. He also questioned whether it was appropriate to support the project under a program designed to advance clean-energy vehicles, especially given the strong supply of high quality steel already available in the U.S
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