• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • The Green Jobs Story Obama Doesn't Want You to Hear

    President Barack Obama visited a federally funded advanced battery plant in Holland, Michigan, today to tout the success of his green jobs initiative. But there’s another highly touted green company in Michigan that the President didn’t visit—and with good reason.

    About 170 miles away in Oak Park, Michigan, the state-government-funded hybrid bus company Fisher Coachworks sits dormant. It’s out of business just two years after it drew acclaim for being part of Michigan’s green future, despite millions in state taxpayer funding and a contract to sell buses to be purchased with federal taxpayer dollars. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports:

    In September of 2009, Fisher Coachworks was mentioned in a press release from Gov. Jennifer Granholm as a “green technology” company that was part of the “new energy economy for Michigan.” Two years later, the state says Fisher Coachworks is out of business and the state has to write off $1.6 million it loaned the electric bus manufacturing company.

    Edgar Benning, general manager of Flint’s Mass Transportation Authority, said in an email that Fisher Coachworks went out of business in the development phase of making two $1.1 million electric buses that Flint was going to purchase with grants from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly referred to as the “stimulus plan.”

    It turns out that the company failed to meet two performance “milestones” as part of its $2.6 million total loan agreement with the state—and without government funding, the company couldn’t survive.

    Fisher Coachworks isn’t the only green company that has struggled to make ends meet amid Obama’s green initiative. In testimony before Congress, Heritage’s David Kreutzer cited four examples of companies that received millions in federal loan guarantees for clean energy projects—three of which ultimately struggled to secure private financing. Why? They weren’t commercially viable.

    Unfortunately, though, politicians like President Obama believe that they can substitute their judgment—and taxpayer dollars—for the mechanics of the market. Kreutzer explains why that just doesn’t work:

    When the savings of new, more energy-efficient technologies exceed the costs of adopting those technologies, markets have the incentive to adopt them.

    But it is the voluntary participants in these market transactions that best know the full spectrum of the costs and benefits that matter most to them. While engineers, accountants, technicians, and others might help to inform consumers and producers, no number of green eyeshades, calculators, and lab equipment can substitute for a consumer’s or firm owner’s own determination of value.

    In other words, Kreutzer says, policies mandating energy technologies that markets resist will only serve to dry up national income while slowing economic growth that generates good, viable jobs.

    Those failures, though, haven’t stopped the President from making his sales pitch. He declares victory where there is failure, and he gives his Administration full credit:

    What also made this possible are the actions that we took together, as a nation, through our government. The fact that we were willing to invest in the research and technology that holds so much promise for jobs and growth. The fact that we worked together to create the environment like this where green businesses can prosper.

    That sure sounds good, if only it were true.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    56 Responses to The Green Jobs Story Obama Doesn't Want You to Hear

    1. Bobbie says:

      Obama is denying Americans easily accessible natural resources, utilized for efficient, consistent energy, while promoting favor of foreign country's, forcing this country purchase of foreign and cost controlled oil, until he conquers America. He's destroying every positive aspect of America's way. Wonder what his future plans are?

    2. Troy says:

      Let me tell you something as a resident of Oak Park Michigan. We are proud of the president and his initiatives. We are so proud that even after having some businesses fail, we will build others. We don't play partisan politics, we do what is right. Helping the environment is right.

      • Anne says:

        Your response begs the questions: How did this failed company help the environment? How was investing in a failed enterprise "right"? You may like Obama, you may favor doing things for the environment, but on what basis is anything about this worth being proud of? Profit may be a dirty word to you, but wise investors look for the technological feasibility of the proposed product and its potential profitability–that is what makes them careful, and makes it more likely that money will be invested in good, rather than bad, ideas. Here, the government ponied up our children's taxes just because it "likes" the environment. And it produced exactly nothing for anyone–just money down the drain. No one wins when investments are made stupidly, as this story amply demonstrates. I wish you all the best in building new businesses, but, please, not on our children's dime. If you believe so much in his initiatives, invest your own dollars.

      • Chris says:

        And you do it all with my tax dollars. It's a good gig but guess what — we're broke and the gig is up.

      • One2Stupid says:

        "We don't play partisan politics". Yea, as long as you get more government money! Did I mention, we're broke! We don't have anymore money.

      • Bobbie says:

        if you need the president to be proud that his initiatives reflect an imaginary concern, too bad for you. And that is partisan. these alternative measures and their means of industry is what is damaging the earth! and wasting alot of everything!

      • Mike says:

        The true definition of insantity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. This president (and apparently you) can not grasp the concept that technological break throughs cannot be dictated by beaucrats regardless of the amount of 'our' money thrown at what 'they' want. Build or subsidize whatever you want in Michigan, but don't plan to do it with Federal (i.e. our) money we no longer have. The only thing your president has been a complete success at is being an utter embarrassment and failure. Given his ignorance in inflexibility, I don't expect to see that change through next fall, when he becomes the next one term president..

      • mike says:

        doesn't pay taxes, collects government assistance……typical obama supporter.

      • Tim AZ says:

        Feeding from the big govt. teat to the detriment of your country is nothing to be proud of. It isn't an accomplishment either because it requires no risk on your part. Have we had enough yet?

      • Slick says:

        Yep, Troy, you've been drinking too much koolaide . . . OR you folks are still counting on Big O coming thru with more Millions for you folks!!!

        Haven't you heard yet? This country is B – R – O – K – E !!!!!! That's right . . . broke, broke, broke!!!!! And the man you so "proudly" salute as being a "green giant", well let's just say that it is too bad that reality does NOT match his imaginiation!!!

        Have a nice life up there in Oak Park, MI . . . . hope your fuel isn't too expensive so you can afford to heat your home this winter!!!

      • NoMoreGov says:

        And you wonder why Michigan is hemorraging economically and drowning in a sea of red?

      • Hope2SurviveObama says:

        I guess as long as you don't realize you are being scammed by Obama AND the environmental industrial complex, why not be happy? Yep Yep Yo!

      • Lloyd says:

        Helping one person won't hack it.

      • Rob says:

        Yeah buddy. Lets just spending good money after bad. You only see what's happening in you little world view. How about all the other cities and towns that are struggling with unemployment and seeing their tax dollars wasted on your towns failed businesses?

      • Rob says:

        One other thing. I'd like to see the bank accounts of the people who received that government check.

      • lois says:

        Unfortunately Michigan hasn't learned anything! Your state and cities have been run by democrats for decades and your cities are a barren wasteland. Your state is a mess. Step away from the koolaid.

      • Chuck says:

        So you are "proud" that you are sucking our taxpayers money from the gov't? You are a loser

      • John Garner says:

        Sorry Troy-
        That is what I would call a woefully inadequate grasp of reality and a downright stupid thing to say. I'll bet you voted for Obama didn't you?
        You ARE right in saying that helping the environment is a good thing, but only if it doesn't cost more….say $1.6 million wasted.

      • Cindy says:

        I have heard of Oak Park, Michigan. You hate vegetable gardens. You haven't been very upfront on what you require of people but you are willing to prosecute them. Ridiculous. We have real criminals and your town is worried about vegetables.

      • onegolddog says:

        Boy you live in LA LA LAND…don't tell me your making payments on a Toyota hybred right, How big is the Solar Panels on your house ?Yeah your PROUD alright,..your full of it….and No one believes that crap ! your president is a FAILURE !! just like OAK Park is….a FAILURE and wasteland.

      • Steve says:

        You know the old saying Troy, what kind of person keeps doing the same thing and expecting different results? That's you Troy, a FOOL!

      • Clete says:

        That's a fine thing Troy and I wish you well with it if you will just use your own money and not mine. It's not very hard to take risks when you're risking someone elses money!!!!

      • @Scott9811 says:

        Enough with the government wasting my tax dollars. You eco terrorists can kiss it! You are destroying our country with your green spending. Enough! President Hate and Blame is a looter with a better job title but still just that, a looter of other people`s money and he own World Record Debts and World Record Deficits.

      • releggneh says:

        Did you not read, federally funded? If he is doing so well, than maybe the co's should pay their own way and see how ell that works without our tax dollars. Food stamps works well too, until you take away the federal funding and start looking at the real numbers! Next rebuttal!?

      • Troy, when are you going to learn? Big government just makes things worse. The Democrat union mind set has destroyed your state. Get a clue. Travel around the country to a few Red states and see the difference.

      • msmumr says:

        Green jobs are another road to serfdom, dependent on Washington subsidies, the dependees become "entitlement slaves" and vote to continue the largess replacing viable free market jobs that could have otherwise been created by economically sound businesses.

      • WakeUp says:

        HaHaHa,thanks for the laugh this morning.

    3. Tim says:

      And the lies roll on and on…

    4. Teri says:

      Typical failure of Obama–unfortunately we are the ones paying for his stupidity and inexperience. Obama's a loser–get rid of him.

    5. Joe says:

      @Heritage Do you really think it's an accident that these companies get tax dollars and go belly up? http://bit.ly/oBlH5q How long do these "failed" "businesses" have to pay back what they received?

      • Slick says:

        What??? You EXPECT them to pay back the gifts they were given by Big O AFTER they go out of business. Get out of town . . . . must be a joke, right

    6. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      "the state has to write off $1.6 million it loaned the electric bus manufacturing company."

      Isn't this another way of saying the taxpayers lost their shirt? While the statists like to decry the risks of Wall Street and private investments, at least we enter them voluntarily. We have no choice when the state "loans" money to someone or some business.

      • Bill says:

        Yes, we do have a choice, it is called an election. Vote them out of office, if you don't like their policies. Also, most states have a recall provision, so you can get rid of them, even if they have been elected.

      • DemNoMore says:

        Kudos, Mike!
        You hit the nail on the head:
        "To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."
        Thomas Jefferson

    7. Normct says:

      Green technology: We stop coal production because it harms the environment, we stop drilling for oil to protect the environment, Germany leads the way stopping nuclear power due to the dangers. Now we'll build electric vehicles and plug them in to an overloaded electrical grid supplied by with shut down power plants. We, as usual put the cart before the horse – come up with AFFORDABLE energy then everything will fall right into place. Our government is touting protecting the environment by stopping oil and coal production etc in this country and putting thousands of people out of work. Then we pay a premium to buy energy from other countries that polute the enfironment anyhow. Less jobs – higher costs – same environmental damage What is wrong with that picture? Only a politician could think it up !!!!

    8. Slick says:

      Let me see if I understand how this works:
      – we "loan" money to GM and confiscate shares . . . sell shares and loose money: $$$ down the drain for taxpayers!
      - we "loan" money to banking entities . . . . some close their doors: $$$ down for taxpayers!
      - we "loan" money to college students who graduate and can't get a job . . . . some refuse to get any kind of work to repay their loans: $$$ down the drain for taxpayers!
      - we give subsidies to companies making "green" energy products . . . some close their doors: $$$ down the drain for taxpayers!
      - we subsidize ethenol plants . . . . price to produce a gallon costs MORE than it costs for gas: $$$ down the drain for taxpayers!

      etc, etc, etc. Hey, tell me this, are the taxpayers ever allowed to win in this game of "spend my money" or are we just the cash cow that keeps on giving???????

    9. James says:

      I love GREEN as long as it is, trees, grass, dirty ol money, I hate spotted owls and tree huggers, and bunny huggers. I do like bunnys, they taste good.

    10. Doris says:

      That sounds like something Jenny would do. Another waste of taxpayer money in my poor home state of Michigan.

    11. cdc1 says:

      Beating up on Troy does not prove anyone's point and makes us look like schoolyard bullies. I still can't tell from this article WHY the bus company failed…. a down financial market? Poor design? No interested buyers? Manufacturing costs too high? That would help me better understand WHY the Obama policy is bad. This article just 'says' it is bad policy. Wow…. guess we are no different than those left wingers who follow blindly, eh?

      How about some facts in the article, Mr. Brownfield.

      • Bobbie says:

        you must be new to the country? Heritage has all the facts and common sense to back up these detrimental concerns to America. You can admit to being as blind as the "left wingers" if you're a failure to your own ability to figure things out, but don't put words in our mouths.

    12. Glen says:

      It would be ok if they would make sure the technology ,and the systema can work before they put big money into some of these green ideas. Insted of starting a company that thinks some of these things could work… What they are doing is just experimenting with thiese things with out knowing some of it can work….. Simply put the government puts their cart before the horse with tax payers money

    13. Jarold Milligan says:

      I don't have a problem with trying to conserve but the WHOLE global warming thing is a PHARSE and been proven false…unless you still want to believe Gore and his idiots. This is the information the green jobs initiative are based on so I say STOP the CRAP and drill baby drill. We have enough untapped energy that would create many useful long term jobs. So get the EPA out of the way and get busy.

    14. Marcus says:

      You have to understand the difference between cost and value. Rather, the average consumer does. I think it's perfectly acceptable, commendable in fact that the president and his administration is putting so much emphasis on green technology and it's application across the country. If we wait until the average consumer clamors for it, it'll be too late. Let's think about this practically for a second.

      Does the "global warming" phenomenon effect the average citizen in his or her daily comings and goings? No. It doesn't. That's why scientists and "those in the know" find it necessary to implore people to change their daily habits to help with the cause. Keep in mind that they always emphasize the fact that "it may not seem significant but together we can make a big difference" or some other such message. Why is this? It's because if we "don't start to change soon it'll be too late."

      So, what about green technology? The purpose of encouraging green technology is to help us continue to operate without depleting our natural resources which ARE in fact finite despite suggestions to the contrary. But, what does that mean to the average consumer. When you fill up your gas tank, do you care how much oil is left in our reserves? Probably not. All you care about is filling your gas tank so you can get to work. As long as you can afford to do that, you're OK. But if we wait until the supply is low enough to effect prices at the pump, it's too late to start researching new technologies that take years to develop and even longer to bring to the marketplace. The average consumer doesn't have the foresight for use to wait for them to pull the trigger.

      Now, do I want the country to spend endless amounts of money on something that is ultimately a waste of money? Of course not. But that's when the difference between cost and value come in. It costs a significant amount of money to encourage these "green jobs" to be sure. Then again, anything worth doing costs. The question is, what's the value? Is it valuable to be able to preserve our natural resources? Is it valuable to be ready for the eventuality when we HAVE to stop relying on fossil fuels because the supply will be so low? Is it valuable to give companies the ability to change with the technological times instead of being left behind when the rules of the game change (e.g., from petroleum to green energy)? I would say it is valuable. The president is just showing that he's willing to pay the cost for that value. It just so happens that some people are too narrow-minded to do the same.

      • Libs-R-NAZIS says:

        Too late for what Marcus? I mean really! WHAT? There's already been a line drawn between reasonable and unreasonable methods of harnessing available energy. It's the exact line drawn between conventional sources of what libs like to call cheap energy, and "green energy". The whole "green energy" myth is a scam. It's an attempt to divert tax dollars, publicity, and governmental endorsements to industries that sound reasonable, (and someday may be), long before they're viable, for the purposes of funeling billions of taxpayer dollars to companies and goverment sponsored enterprises, so they can mingle taxpayer dollars and funnel it right back into politics and politicians pockets, less the 80% wasted.

    15. carolyn olson says:

      Marcus may have some valid points. It shouldn't be all or nothing either way, but continuing to analyze these things is important. No one should think they have all the answhere.

    16. Joann Morgan says:

      If something sounds too good to be true…then it usually is !!! One has to use "common sense" in business, technology and in most anything in life !!! Cost and value !!!!

    17. Earl says:

      Green technology is a complete waste of time and money. What natural resource has ever been completely depleted? Oil and the internal combustion engine did not take long to adapt to the market, but "green" technology is being force fed by a tyrannical federal government to a citizenry that doesn't want it, an economy that doesn't support it. If the so called green technology were so great, we would be buying off shelf at Wal-Mart or Lowes.

    18. Rob says:

      Gee Marcus, you sound like such a nice communist.

    19. Not Gullible says:

      The president is not paying for anything…We the People are paying for his 'great ideas' that don't do anything for the environment and never will. And you do tend to run out of anything that you stop producing like fossel fuels. Maybe you haven't heard, Green initiatives are a basis to redistribute money and move it around to where the elite want it to be. That being, with their union thugs that round up voters from the homeless shelters and send them in to vote for the Dems two or three times. And maybe you haven't gotten the news reports, because I know the 'leftie journalists' haven't reported the findings of the NASA report that global warmth is being caused by sun flares, not human activity, but is being released into space more than the UN's charts expected it to. That's why the earth has not been warming for the last 15 years. O'B's behavior czar doesn't want you to know, so you will continue to condone the mass theft of the American people.

    20. search4freedom says:

      We all understand cost to value. Most Americans have GREAT concern for 'global warming', and even more so, the need for renewable energies. This was not about that. This was about OBAMA picking one….. 'do good on government money' company, and OBAMA trying to shine. Did he go stand in front of the failed company and suggest that "WE NEED CHANGE…YES, WE DO". Did that effort stimulate this NATIONS economy to such an extent that 30,000 additional persons became employed in the last 6 months? Spock said…"it isn't about the one..it's about the many"… HE has MY VOTE. When I see a president, or a presidential candidate that is totally for this nation, at the expense of him or herself, then THAT is the one i will take my hat off to. NOT someone that stands in front of ONE COMPANY still on government dole, TRYING TO CONVINCE SOMEONE THAT HE …"DID GOOD", AS I OFTEN TELL MY KIDS. Yes, we certainly need solar energy. Good to hear that OBAMA is for the green energy—NUCLEAR ENERGY. That's as far from "green" as it gets, in my book!! Oh, we can just tuck away the waste from that in someones back yard….and if they don't like it: arrest them! I am sure they will have broken some law for protesting.

    21. search4freedom says:

      So, here is the lower case reply to Marcus. Marcus, no-one is debating here if renewable energy is a good or bad thing, nor if it is needed or not, and even about cost to value. Certainly it takes time to develop, and scientific minds to do it. I resent in your post the following: "If we wait until the average consumer clamors for it, it 'll be too late", and, "The average consumer doesn't have the foresight for use to wait for them to pull the trigger". I will tell you, if that is true, that the average consumer is trying to eat. The average consumer is trying to not lose their house. The average consumer is trying to buy a box of band-aids, and a bottle of Maalox, in order to try to survive this president and the administration surrounding this regime, this president. This president stood in front of a company that is surviving off of me, and all the other millions of people in this nation. I see nothing to be proud of. If he had stood in front of a 'failed attempt' and said …"I owe this to you Americans, and you can have my salary back for the $2.6 million dollars, for as many years as it takes", then that would be something to be proud of. I do not appreciate this money being thrown away right now, when millions and millions of American people are trying to make ends meet, somehow. Our president supports nuclear energy, too….and I see nothing "green' about that. Where are we supposed to put the garbage from that insane nightmare…in someone's backyard? How about in your backyard? We need the real thing: solar and wind energy.

    22. Jincho says:

      To me Green Technology is a waste because I believe we have gone past the point of no return. Our leaders are just not being honest with us. It is better to save up the money you got, you are going to need it in about five years when gas prices reach five times their current level, as well as everything else!

    23. @RCMillsJr says:

      It is 2011 our cars/trucks/buses should be running on something other then oil by now. It has been 100 years and the internal combustion engine remains almost the same as it was in 1908 when the first Model T rolled off the line.

      I could care less about the reality or myth of "global warming". We must move our technology forward and the government needs to push it. there will be some successes and some failures. But our survival as the greatest nation depends on the new "green" technology of tomorrow

      Check out America's number 4 auto company. Tesla http://www.teslamotors.com/ Will begin delivery of their new 300 mile per charge sedan next year. In a decade we can have $15,000 consumer electric cars and in 2 decades a perpetual electric car that charges from the sun. But we must have the will and the courage to push this technology forward.

      • Bobbie says:

        In America it's threatening for the American government to be pushing anything on a free people. Oil is fine t o use and is necessary to continue. It's fine to move technology forward freely and with the interest of the people to choose freely without bashing another product by hoax. Like gas fueled engines, electric fueled engines can advertise without the government and people can purchase without the government. Good for Tesla. If the interest is there, they'll sell. If they were backed by government, I'm not interested.

    24. Joe Sneed says:

      Some will not find this surprising. Others won't read it.

    25. Mutantone says:

      I guess that is why Obama bought the Bus for his travels from a Canadian company, using tax payer funds to do so

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.