Sunday, September 18, 2011

Behold, The Circle of Government Life

Investor's Business Daily -- "Ex-employees of the failed solar panel company Solyndra have applied for aid under the federal government’s Trade Adjustment Assistance program, the Labor Department has confirmed. If approved, the employees of what was once touted as a leading exemplar of the White House’s green jobs program will be eligible for more federal funds to enable them to be retrained for other jobs.

It would be an ironic coda to the saga of Solyndra, which manufactured solar panels and received $527 million in loan guarantees from the Energy Department and praise from President Obama during visits to the firm’s California headquarters. Now those green workers will be seeking the government’s help to find work again and not necessarily in the conservation jobs sector."

Scott Lincicome summarizes this "Circle of Government Life":

"So to recap: massive government subsidies created 1,100 "green jobs" that never would've existed but for those massive government subsidies.  And when those fake jobs disappeared because the subsidized employer company couldn't compete in the market, the workers blamed China (instead of what's easily one of the worst business plans ever drafted) in order to receive... wait for it... more government subsidies.

Behold, the Circle of Government Life."

40 Comments:

At 9/18/2011 11:07 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Also, federal and state rebates and tax credits, in California, which reduced solar panel installation costs 50%, couldn't get enough consumers to buy.

 
At 9/18/2011 11:14 AM, Blogger juandos said...

I'm guessing there's going to be some more of that circling before to long: Government Races to Close Billions in Renewable Energy Loan Guarantees

 
At 9/18/2011 11:21 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/18/2011 11:24 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...

While there was nothing correct about Solyndra, or the whole "green jobs", blaming China for a business problem is never wrong. China (and similar) supposed cheapness comes with the cost of selective freedom - something reserved for favored Party apparatus or multinationals, but never the commoners that do the work.

 
At 9/18/2011 12:01 PM, Blogger Rufus II said...

Solyndra had an interesting technology, but there was just no way to get the cost/watt down to where the game is played (their cost/watt was about 8 times First Solar's current $0.74/watt.)

The DOE told him Solyndra wasn't ready for 'prime time.' The O'Man screwed the pooch.

BTW, when it comes to Photovoltaic Panels the U.S. runs a $5 Billion Trade "Surplus" with the rest of the World, Including a sizable Trade Surplus with China.

For States South of the 35th Parallel, Solar is rapidly becoming the cheapest "peaking" power available, sans any subsidies.

 
At 9/18/2011 12:04 PM, Blogger Jim said...

It does not surprise me that Solyndra's business plan was terrible.

I want to learn one thing, and it is the one thing we are never going to learn; why did Obama like Solyndra in spite of its childish plan?

The argument for government R&D is that it can step in to more risky situations (and therefore accept lower ROIs and more failure) where private equity is too risk averse. That will advance innovation faster.

Except where is the example in reality? Solyndra was using rejected technology, in a spectacularly poor business plan. That isn't cutting edge; it is stupid.

Arguably the best that government can do is the shuttle program, where it chooses a much costlier alternative, with astronomically increasing costs of iterations, with virtually no innovative variation, and learns almost nothing.

 
At 9/18/2011 12:05 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

What are some of the benefits for Solyndra workers under the Trade Assistance Act?

Job Search allowances of $1250 per worker.

Re-location allowances up to 90% of the cost.

104 weeks of training with unemployment comp. in addition to 26 weeks of remedial training if necessary.

65% of health coverage during training and/or job search.


I am for some unemployment benefits but this is absurd.

 
At 9/18/2011 12:09 PM, Blogger Rufus II said...

I agree, Buddy, we've gone a little "nuts" on this unemployment thing.

 
At 9/18/2011 2:01 PM, Blogger juandos said...

The question I want answered is where to clowns like Obama, Chu, et al get off playing venture capitalist with extorted tax dollars?

 
At 9/18/2011 2:46 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Meanwhile, Obama wants to raise taxes on people who actually have successful business plans to transfer the wealth they created to these worthless disasters.

Seems silly to make money the old fashioned way. Rubbing shoulders with the powerful and getting handouts is much simpler.

What could go wrong?

 
At 9/18/2011 3:09 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

The problem with Solyndra is that they should have applied for permanent USDA subsidies to "harvest" sunlight.

These guys were amateurs at milking the government. A one-shot deal.

One shot that cost about the same as one day of our ongoing Iraqistan follies.

 
At 9/18/2011 3:14 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"I want to learn one thing, and it is the one thing we are never going to learn; why did Obama like Solyndra in spite of its childish plan?" -- Jim

Solyndra was the first company to be awarded a federal loan guarantee under the stimulus, worth $535 million. Taxpayers are likely to end up on the hook for much if not all of that amount, a highly embarrassing development for President Obama because he was among the company’s biggest cheerleaders. He visited its Fremont plant in May 2010 even though PricewaterhouseCoopers had weeks earlier raised doubts about its plans for an initial public offering by questioning whether it could continue as a going concern ... That’s especially troubling because Solyndra is backed by one of Obama’s key fundraisers, George Kaiser of Tulsa. -- LATimes

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration restructured a half-billion dollar federal loan to a troubled solar energy company in such a way that private investors — including a fundraiser for President Barack Obama — moved ahead of taxpayers for repayment in case of a default, government records show. -- AJC

The White House faced mounting political complications as a second top fundraiser for President Barack Obama was linked to a federal loan guarantee program that backed a now-bankrupt Silicon Valley solar energy company, and as two California lawmakers called for investigations of a state tax break granted to the firm. -- BostonHerald

Jon Stewarts take: Fox News call your doctor ...

 
At 9/18/2011 8:08 PM, Blogger Innovation rules said...

@Che is dead

I understand the donor connection.

Still, I am not cynical enough to believe he did it merely as payback or, after being found out, that he would not have some ratitonalization for the project.

The question still stands. What made him think the blatant donor association was a good idea? They actually put his donor's money ahead of the taxpayer in event of default.

But clearly he thought this would work, or he wouldn't have made himself look like a sadsack only a year later. No one does that. So what was the rationalization?

Because what really makes me fearful, more even than the cycnicism of party politics, is that he thought it WOULD work; he visited the factory and clearly thought he had a winner. And if he we hear that reasoning, we will hear the frightful reasoning of a person with no understanding of business at all.

No one other than earlier investors who's money was sunk would touch Solyndra. But Obama did. The DOE did, against their better judgment. Why? I fear the simple reason is that he's an idiot.

I was told a story by the CEO of a health care company who hired a consultant who had done nuts and bolts work on Obamacare. The guy had never seen an Income statement.

The very practical reality is that these are lawyers and professional politicians and academics spending trillions of dollars, and hundreds of billions in stimulus, who have absolutely no idea how value is added, and where the pitfalls are, and how the world works. And you can get all the degrees in the world, and learn all the Marx you want, but if you don't understand a business, why are you screwing around in markets? You have to have an arrogrant chip on your shoulder the size of a tree.

With $447 billion, we could give $30,000+ to every person under-employed to negotiate with their dream company for temp employment (that is twice the population of Greece or LA), and track the results and learn from them. But somehow, it is a better idea to cast the money out in the economy like seeds on the ground. Only academics and politicians can be so stupid.

 
At 9/18/2011 8:34 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


With $447 billion, we could give $30,000+ to every person under-employed to negotiate with their dream company for temp employment

Temporary employment == still underemployed. Thanks for advocating de-facto slavery via the lopsided negotiation power; while a few can make it work, the many do not get that kind of luxury.

Do the complete job, and calculate funding for full-time, direct employment.

 
At 9/18/2011 8:47 PM, Blogger Don Culo said...

I am angry that a comapny like Solyndra can steal from our government.

We should have given the subsidies to the defense contractors they would never take advantage of the government. Our money was well spent in Iraq and Afghanistan back when Bush and Cheney were in control.

 
At 9/18/2011 9:01 PM, Blogger Innovation rules said...

@sethstorm

I am not advocating spending such money. I am merely illustrating the incredible amounts they are spending, and how to do it in a measurable way.

Sure, many of those temp contracts may not turn into permanent positions for any number of reasons, some being that the employee does not add enough value. But then we would know that, wouldn't we?

Part of the problem with macroeconomics and public policy is that it can not be measured, and so we do the same stupid thing over and over.

 
At 9/18/2011 10:13 PM, Blogger markv2001 said...

At $527 million, Solyndra is small potatoes. The Federal Reserve has doled out $16,000,000 million ($16 trillion) to failed banks around the world since the 2008 bailouts began, without oversight from any elected representative of the people.

 
At 9/18/2011 10:56 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


I am not advocating spending such money. I am merely illustrating the incredible amounts they are spending, and how to do it in a measurable way.

No problem there.


Sure, many of those temp contracts may not turn into permanent positions for any number of reasons, some being that the employee does not add enough value. But then we would know that, wouldn't we?

The way that temporary labor works, there is too much incentive to set an unreachable goal and churn hard.

It makes the incorrect presumption that giving the worker anything but a large disadvantage is wrong. While there are those that can make it work, they usually have the luxury of choice between conventional full-time and temporary. Most people who encounter temporary labor are those that do not have such choice.

 
At 9/19/2011 2:35 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Our money was well spent in Iraq and Afghanistan back when Bush and Cheney were in control"...

Gee! Really?

You mean this Iraq that Slick Willie and the Dems talked about?

This Iraq the Dems publically condemned?

 
At 9/19/2011 8:28 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Our money was well spent in Iraq and Afghanistan ...."

REALLY? I thought that it was "off budget" and now is part of the 14trillion of debt that no one wants to be responsible for.

so when you spend money you don't have for wars... then you'll get advocates to spend money you don't have for ethanol and solar...

right?

some folks like to spend money we don't have on DOD while others like to spend money we don't have on solar, crop subsidies, ethanol, stimulus... etc...

same church.. different pews...

 
At 9/19/2011 9:26 AM, Blogger Don said...

I hear they're hiring in North Dekota :^). It would be great irony if one of the production companies drilling up there were to hire Solyndra's employees en mass. That would certainly make me giggle.

 
At 9/19/2011 10:24 AM, Blogger Paul said...

"so when you spend money you don't have for wars..."

I guess Larry thinks we should have just shrugged our shoulders and went back to work on 9/11. Also, Pearl Harbor.

 
At 9/19/2011 10:33 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" I guess Larry thinks we should have just shrugged our shoulders and went back to work on 9/11. Also, Pearl Harbor"

No. You PAY for it. When did we decide that when we get cold-cocked by bad guys that instead of paying for the response - we put it on the Chinese credit card?

and why is this approach the ones support by those who claim to be fiscal conservatives?

"being attacked by bad guys - means you never have to pay for the response - just blame it on others".

 
At 9/19/2011 11:22 AM, Blogger Paul said...

"No. You PAY for it. When did we decide that when we get cold-cocked by bad guys that instead of paying for the response - we put it on the Chinese credit card?"

Cool. Let's take it out of social security and medicare. Oh wait, when you said "you pay for it," you meant the rest of us, not you specifically.

 
At 9/19/2011 11:34 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" "No. You PAY for it. When did we decide that when we get cold-cocked by bad guys that instead of paying for the response - we put it on the Chinese credit card?"

Cool. Let's take it out of social security and medicare. Oh wait, when you said "you pay for it," you meant the rest of us, not you specifically. "

SS and Medicare did not incur the original debt - it was NOT PAYING for the decision that led directly to the debt which now you want to transfer that responsibility to others.

I'm all in favor of cutting the subsidies to Medicare but that won't pay that debt.

neither will cuts to SS since it is funded from FICA - not income taxes.

it's totally irresponsible to go into to wars and then refuse to pay for it ....and claim that entitlements are the cause.

do we want these folks in charge of the country?

nope. we had 8 years worth of them and all they did was double the debt and refuse to accept responsibility of the debt.

 
At 9/19/2011 11:46 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Larry,

The lame Solyndra MO of you liberals is "what about Bush?"
A)Bush isn't President. B)Bush didn't run up 1.6 trillion dollar deficits. I'd gladly go back to the days of Bush overspending vs. the current idiot you voted for.
C) Obama's crony socialism is not in the same ball park as killing your enemies. Not the same church. Not the same planet.

"SS and Medicare did not incur the original debt - it was NOT PAYING for the decision that led directly to the debt which now you want to transfer that responsibility to others."

I've explained this to you a million times. See if you can finally grasp it this time: SS and Medicare are part of the overall federal budget. Taxes are taken out of my paycheck to pay for these programs. That creates an opportunity cost for me to pay for other government spending. Every dollar I pay for you to spend your golden years loafing is a dollar I cannot pay for the rest of government. Do you finally grasp this? So yes, SS and Medicare are part of the problem for the current debt. It's simple logic.

"we had 8 years worth of them and all they did was double the debt and refuse to accept responsibility of the debt."

And now we will have 4 years of Obama's war on capitalism and all he has done is double the debt and blame it all on Bush.

Like you, Larry.

 
At 9/19/2011 11:46 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

If the American people were told that we are going to go to war and we are going to pay for it by zero funding Medicare and appropriating FICA taxes and killing SS -

the bums who said this would be in instant political oblivion if they made that as a proposal .....

instead these scum do essentially the same behavior but in a one-two step....spend the money then raid the other programs to pay it back.

run the country broke on dumbass nation-building policies paid for initially by the Chinese and then say you need Medicare and SS to pay back the Chinese.

this is what passes for "leadership" now days from the party of "no".

these are the 'deficits don't matter' jerks that drove the country into a ditch.

 
At 9/19/2011 11:48 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" I've explained this to you a million times. See if you can finally grasp it this time: SS and Medicare are part of the overall federal budget. Taxes are taken out of my paycheck to pay for these programs. "

you can "explain" all you want but if what you say was made as a proposal to voters - the people who made that proposal would be out on their butts in a NY minute and rightly so.

instead they ran the country into an economic ditch and say "the devil made us do it and now we want your Social Security".

 
At 9/19/2011 12:01 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"you can "explain" all you want but if what you say was made as a proposal to voters - the people who made that proposal would be out on their butts in a NY minute and rightly so."

So? The voters are ultimately responsible for the mess we are in, they put idiots in charge like Barack Obama. Nothing about the politics changes the truth of what I said. And you didn't even try to refute it, 'cuz you can't.

"instead they ran the country into an economic ditch and say "the devil made us do it and now we want your Social Security"."

Freeloaders like you ran the country into a ditch, Larry. And now you want to sit back on your ass and tax the rest of us more to make up the difference.

 
At 9/19/2011 12:32 PM, Blogger Seth said...

"Part of the problem with macroeconomics and public policy is that it can not be measured, and so we do the same stupid thing over and over." -Innovation Rules

Nice comment. The other part of the problem is that it doesn't work and since it can't be measured, few people believe that.

 
At 9/19/2011 1:54 PM, Blogger stary kozel said...

Is Washington so clueless?

Something amazing is happening – both Democrats and Republicans are not commenting on the serious ripoff plan discussed below. Are they so stupid or we simply see both parties in agreement to cheat the taxpayers?

The problem I am talking about is with the Social Security "tax saving deal" portion of Obama's “Jobs Plan”. The SS tax money taken out from a taxpayer's paycheck is not a paycheck tax per se; instead it is a method to assure that taxpayers put some savings into Social Security Trust funds (there are two of them), to be withdrawn after the person reaches qualification age.
This amount plus employer's SS contribution is not included in taxable Wages in Box 1 of W-2 form.

My claims:
1)Doing this "tax cut" supports to some degree the "Ponzi scheme" statements. Looks like the government is not overly concerned regarding the future of the Social Security Trusts. This is because taxpayers will end with less money in their base that will be used to calculate the size of their future SS payments, plus it will accelerate possible default of the Social Security Trusts.
2) Assuming that the SS payments are really a form of savings for the old age, I see this new tax rule not as a cut, but as a TAX INCREASE instead. That is because the amount that is called "tax savings" will be show in Box 1 of W-2 and will be taxed in everybody's tax returns!
3)In addition the employers will have also (limited) “tax break”; the requirement to match their employee's SS tax will be lowered as well.

I claim that every taxpayer is losing 3 ways:

A) The amount which is actually form of their savings is called “tax break”. This tax break would be valid if the IRS would lower withdrawing the monthly tax payment amount that later shows in the Box 2 of W-2 and also lowering the sum called Wages that shows in the Box 1 of W-2

B) The government will TAX this “tax cut” money because they will show in Box 1 of the W-2 Therefore this will result in tax increase.

C) Every employee should see employer's SS contribution as money that are portion of their employment contract. With Obama's “Tax Break”, the government is saying to the employers that it is OK to break their contractual promise given to their employees. This money, because not paid into the SS coffers, will also not be shown in employee's SS balance and will not be included in the calculations to determine the size of their SS payments....

Example:
Family of four earning $50,000/years will see a' $1550 more cash over one year; assuming that this family tax rate is 11.5%, they will pay $178 in addition to their a' $5750 "regular" tax. So they will pay a' $5928 instead of that original $5750!!! This does not include the existing 2% SS “Tax Break” that is already in place for 2011.

Yes, people will have more spending money that year, but this was their money anyway, money that should have been put aside for their old age, tax free! The taxpayers are Big Losers again!

 
At 9/19/2011 1:56 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

"So? The voters are ultimately responsible for the mess we are in,"

nope - if Bush/Cheney had said - "we're going to nation-build and you're going to pay for it with your social security and medicare" both dumbasses would have been impeached.

" Freeloaders like you ran the country into a ditch, Larry. And now you want to sit back on your ass and tax the rest of us more to make up the difference."

people who have paid FICA taxes are not "freeloaders" - they have paid into the system.

the response to 911 was to run the country into an economic ditch and then blame those who get SS benefits - an example of the logic being used by some who thankfully constitute the fringe....of right wing idiocy...

 
At 9/19/2011 2:39 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"nope - if Bush/Cheney had said - "we're going to nation-build and you're going to pay for it with your social security and medicare" both dumbasses would have been impeached."

Well, yeah, probably they would have suffered a backlash. The greedy parasite geezers like you don't want to have to give up a dime of your free lunch. You want to take it out of my hide instead while I continue to fund your early bird specials and adult diaper inventory. Once again, I don't dispute the politics of it.

"..people who have paid FICA taxes are not "freeloaders" - they have paid into the system."

Sorry, the politicians you voted for to protect the welfare programs you cherish pissed the FICA and income taxes away on other failed liberal programs. You should have been more vigiliant rather than voting for con men like LBJ. You are now living off my income and you think it is your birthright. In other words, you are freeloader.

"the response to 911 was to run the country into an economic ditch and then blame those who get SS benefits..."

Uh, no it wasn't. The response to 9/11 was to kill terrorists. The economic ditch was created by debt and government interference idealized by nitwits like Barack Obama. We should have funded the wars by taking it out of other government programs like SS, Medicare, ag dept, energy, etc. Whether or not that would have been politically palatable is another story. I understand greedy geezers like you have plenty of time on your hands to go out and vote.

The thing I find most laughable about your position is that Bush did not run up 1.5 trillion dollar deficits like the idiot you voted for. Yet, you scorn Bush for running up admittedly too high deficits that were about a third of Obama's at their worst. Meanwhile, you completely ignore the super volcano of debt Obama has run up and will continue to run up. You're a hack. Do you still pretend to be the guy who is "only interested in results, not ideology?"

 
At 9/19/2011 3:00 PM, Blogger JP said...

SOME have asked, "Where does Obama get off doing these kinds of things?"
He told the American people he was going to bring change! Actually, it's just more of the same.
The American people are to stupid to vote and to stupid to stop being brain-washed by the American TV Media that has the same agenda as the Communist Gov. in Washington.
You are considered serfs! And when they are through bring in their NWO, you die!
http://political-religious-connection.blogspot.com/

 
At 9/19/2011 3:20 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

"Well, yeah, probably they would have suffered a backlash."

ha ha ha... if they had been HONEST, they would have been consigned to the trash heap of failed leaders ..they were...

"The greedy parasite geezers like you don't want to have to give up a dime of your free lunch."

I don't think you know me guy.

for the record - I do not get SS.

why do you assume I do?

you sound like a little jerk...jumping to conclusions about things you don't know...

 
At 9/20/2011 3:08 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"The voters are ultimately responsible for the mess we are in, they put idiots in charge like Barack Obama"...

I do believe paul has a valid point here but maybe didn't go quite far enough...

From Canada's National Post: Rex Murphy: The media’s love affair with a disastrous president

As the bad economic news continues to emanate from the United States — with a double-dip recession now all but certain — a reckoning is overdue. American journalism will have to look back at the period starting with Barack Obama’s rise, his assumption of the presidency and his conduct in it to the present, and ask itself how it came to cast aside so many of its vital functions. In the main, the establishment American media abandoned its critical faculties during the Obama campaign — and it hasn’t reclaimed them since...

 
At 9/20/2011 9:01 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

If approved, the employees of what was once touted as a leading exemplar of the White House’s green jobs program will be eligible for more federal funds to enable them to be retrained for other jobs.

Wonderful. With all the talk of an infrastructure bank the money could be used to train them to hold up those stop signs or to dig ditches.

 
At 10/13/2011 2:23 PM, Blogger Richard Marshall said...

Every day that Obama remains in office, the more corruption and abuse of our Constitution you'll see.

Hey, Congress, Issa, Grassley, do your job as per your oath of office. Investigate the biggest criminal of all -- Obama! It's already been determined that Obama is the worst president this country has ever had. Without question, he's spent more money beginning with Geo. Washington to Bush, COMBINED! Is anybody concerned here? Does anybody seem to think this isn't a problem?

 
At 10/14/2011 12:26 PM, Blogger Beatnick said...

What about the reported friendship of a close backer of Obama's campaign? The CEO of Solar City was allegedly one of Solyndra's backers and prior to Obama being elected, this particular CEO made around 4 financial contributions to Obama's presidential campaign and also flew to Washington to meet with Obama personally.

If that ain't a kick in the head, how about the Bush admin allegedly telling Obama's team 2 weeks before he took office, that Bush's analyst advise against approving a loan to this Solyndra company. According to their projections, Solyndra would run out of money around the end of summer Aug/Sept '11. Seems like a nice backdoor pay back to one of the Good 'Ol Boys. Me thinks the democratic budgets mostly consist of paying back contributors to their campaigns....must be nice

 
At 10/14/2011 2:21 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Hey, Congress, Issa, Grassley, do your job as per your oath of office. Investigate the biggest criminal of all -- Obama! It's already been determined that Obama is the worst president this country has ever had. Without question, he's spent more money beginning with Geo. Washington to Bush, COMBINED! Is anybody concerned here? Does anybody seem to think this isn't a problem?

Of course he is a problem. But so was Bush. The bigger problem are the two major parties and the mainstream media which keeps them in power. Americans need a real choice and to be smart enough to accept someone different.

 

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