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  • Morning Bell: A Bad Year for Obama's Green Dream

    For President Barack Obama, 2011 began with a bang — a bold pronouncement that his green dream for America would bring forth a jobs explosion and a new economy fueled by alternative energy, a vision he likened to President John F. Kennedy’s “moon shot” in the 1960s. Much to Obama’s chagrin, the year has ended in a whimper with his green energy “sun shot” sputtering to the ground before it even took off.

    The President set the bar awfully high in his State of the Union Address last January, hailing alternative clean energy as “our generation’s Sputnik moment” and claiming that it would be ”an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.” The President said, “Already, we’re seeing the promise of renewable energy.” Unfortunately, what the President predicted is much different than what the rest of the country experienced in the ensuing year. The jobs that the President promised didn’t materialize, and his green energy investments are careening into the ground, not shooting to the moon.

    That news was sealed in The Washington Post this week with a story that didn’t see much light of day, published as it was on Christmas Day. The Post reported that politics, not policy, has been largely behind the President’s green jobs program:

    Meant to create jobs and cut reliance on foreign oil, Obama’s green-technology program was infused with politics at every level, The Washington Post found in an analysis of thousands of memos, company records and internal e-mails. Political considerations were raised repeatedly by company investors, Energy Department bureaucrats and White House officials.

    Of course, central to the story is solar energy company Solyndra, which received a $535 million taxpayer-funded loan guarantee. President Obama spoke at the company’s newly unveiled factory in May of last year, bragging that “[W]e can see the positive impacts [of the stimulus] right here at Solyndra.” Despite the President’s boosterism, Solyndra went bankrupt last summer, leaving 1,100 people out of work. The jobs the President promised didn’t stick around long, and they came at a heavy price.

    The Post took a look at the Solyndra story and found that senior officials “pushed career bureaucrats to rush their decision” on the solar energy company’s taxpayer-backed loan guarantee in order to coincide with a visit by Vice President Joe Biden. And it reported that politics, “optics,” and political theater were at the top of the Administration’s mind, with one Obama staffer writing that “a meltdown” at Solyndra “would likely be very embarrassing for DOE and the Administration.”

    The Post also found that the White House granted “easy access to venture capitalists with stakes in some of the companies backed by the administration,” many of whom were Obama campaign donors. And others were given jobs in the Administration and “helped manage the clean-energy program.”

    If that story weren’t enough bad news for one week, on Tuesday another headline landed like with a thud on the White House’s doorstep. The Wall Street Journal reported that “Dark Times Fall on Solar Sector” and that “Bankruptcies, plummeting stock prices and crushing debt loads are calling into question the viability of an industry that since the 1970s has been counted on to advance the U.S.–and the world–into a new energy age.”

    But wait, there’s more! The notoriously liberal New York Times printed a harsh assessment of the “green” economy in August and concluded that the President’s promise to create five million green jobs over 10 years is nothing more than “a pipe dream.” Case in point? The Times pointed to California’s Bay Area, where “green” jobs have actually been lost, not gained. And farther up the West coast, a $20 million federal grant to invest in weatherization programs was a total failure. Seattlepi.com reported that “only three homes had been retrofitted and just 14 new jobs have emerged from the program.” Their conclusion: “Seattle’s ‘green jobs’ program a bust.”

    The White House, though, tries to tell a different story. On its website, you can find headlines like “Fastest Growing Industry in the U.S. — Solar Energy,” “Now Is Not the Time to Wave the White Flag on Clean Energy Jobs,” and “Investing in America’s New Energy Frontier” — all of which lead to stories that promote alternative energy as America’s brave new future. But as this year has shown, that is more fiction than fact, as much as President Obama would tell you otherwise.

    Meanwhile, the President has flat out turned his back on real jobs and tangible energy sources by postponing a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline–a project that would directly create 20,000 truly shovel-ready jobs and an estimated 179,000 American jobs by 2035, bring with it a $20 billion private-infrastructure investment in the United States, and also promote energy independence. It seems that when it comes to jobs, energy, and investment, this is a President who prefers to choose fantasy over reality.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    51 Responses to Morning Bell: A Bad Year for Obama's Green Dream

    1. Dirty Missouri says:

      The 'Green Dream' was just another way to line donars pockets so he could raise his $BILLION$ campain war chest.

    2. Jeff Dover says:

      It's all baloney. None of it makes a bit of sense. Nothing Obama or anyone else does to provide "clean" energy will make the least bit of difference in anyone's health or average lifespan.

      On the other hand, what he and Democrats over the years up to now have done to our healthcare system in the USA, will have a great effect on both our general health and our lifespan.

      Obama and his people are ignorant and malign.

    3. Jeanne Stotler says:

      Proof positive that BHO was not qualified for the job, it takes more than sitting in Ill. senate and voting "present" and being a US senator for a year to qualify to e POTUS. Now is the time to elect someone who can lead us out of this quagmire and return us to the respected nation we once were.

    4. joseph m says:

      fantasy over reality my foot. he inherited a severely defunct economy from bush, with us Americans pretending all is well. Republicans have tried their best to shoot down the proposals he comes up with on just about anything. so what with the solar energy debacle. write well researched objective articles, get real!

      • sdfultz says:

        Thanks Joseph m,
        I thought I was the only one who could see this article for what it is, a sham!
        At some point we will be forced into alternate forms of energy, we may as well start now or we could buy it from the Chinese later, I know the opposition to alternate energy loves that ideal.

      • Jill Maine says:

        How is it that you democrats haven't realised that the Carter / Clinton community reinvestmanet act is the cause of this unending recession. You can't grant martgages to millions of people who are unable to pay the payments and not crash the housing market like this. I don't understand why the damn democrats are getting away with the whining over what they inherited. BHO also inherited a great country and he is leaving it in shambles. Wait till the next president comes up to bat. He will definitely be justified in whining. BHO is a menace.

      • G Bratcher says:

        joseph m,
        You need to use facts and the facts are that the "defunct ecomomy" was created by the Democrats who pushed thru all of the bad sub-prime loan requirements on the banks with the Frank-Dodd debacle. Your buds are the ones who controlled the budgets for Bush's last two years and your buds did an awful job of it. And, Barry's proposals need to be shot down since almost everything he does has had a negative effect on the economy and jobs.
        Have a good day,
        Katyglenn

      • Retired Lady says:

        You poor soul, you will believe anything! I have some ocean front property in Idaho I will sell for a very reasonable price to you. Are you interested?

      • Joe says:

        Really?! And what has our fearless leader done so far with that "severely defunct economy"? (That's a rhetorical question, my misguided friend…because we all know the answer. HE'S MADE IT WORSE. When are we going to quit hearing the excuses about the previous administration and see some action to alleviate the problem? Three years into a four year term should be enough time to enact some worthwhile changes, don't you think? Mr Obama needs to get his butt off the golf course, park Air Force One for a while and show everyone what he can do. So far, I haven't seen anything but spend, spend, spend. If he wants to "spend", maybe he should spend some time at his desk working on the problems instead of running around campaigning and making excuses for his lack of "Hope and Change".
        Take your own advice…do some research and get your facts straight before you spew out anymore party lines and psycho-babble. Remember this; a pig with lipstick is still just a pig.

      • Carolyn says:

        BS Joseph. His first 2 years he had control of both houses of congress and the Presidency. He could have passed just about anything he wanted. What he did pass was to the detriment of our country and we are 15T in debt. He didn't inherit 15T did he?? Now that GOP has the house, they're to blame? No I think they are just trying to keep him from doing any more damage to this Nation.

      • Judy Thomas says:

        Are you drinking obama's koolaide? How much longer can you blame bush? He has spend more money in 3-years than any other president in history. What does he have to show for it? Other than is vacations and golf outings.

      • Bobbie says:

        why do you excuse his unconstitutional behavior joseph? he's claimed scholar to the American Constitution yet neglects to follow or even respect his oath of office. As is pointed out, he had two years prior in the senate! he didn't inherit the economy from bush, he was part of the governing process that caused this crisis, sitting in the front row fully aware of all happenings, present or not. And even more so he's worked for government entities over the private sector he doesn't give a chance to. So really saying he inherited something he could've worked to avoid years ago, is lame! says that you have low expectations of the American President!

    5. Pat from Texas says:

      Green energy technology is just another "pipe dream" of Obama's for America's Green Energy future. What a fiasco this is. He needs to concentrate on what WILL work for America (IE: Keystone) instead of what he thinks will work for him.

    6. Gary Pilgrim says:

      If we had these kind of shareholder losses combined with conflicts of interest in every direction, the SEC would find a way to prosecute someone(s) or at least a very broad investigation with lots of publicity and accusations of probable guilt.

    7. Joe says:

      Mr. Obama needs to be banished to "Fantasy Island" (read as, "far, far away") right around this time next year…unless of course, we can figure out a way to do it sooner. There, he can live out his days dreaming of cars that run on sunlight, houses that are airtight (scary thought, that) and everyone on the planet being perfectly equal in every way. ..not to mention free rounds of golf every day! Then and only then can we possibly get this country back on track and get some real work done. (i.e. Keystone XL pipeline for one)
      And to think we have to pay for his security (Secret Service guys) for the rest of his life! That is the ultimate insult to the American taxpayer! What a shame. This is truly a case of NOT being careful what you wished for in 2008.

    8. Rene says:

      It's frankly difficult to keep up with the number of scams this administration has perpetrated on the American public. PLEASE can the Republicans find talented communicators who will produce effective advertising to highlight this point? We will be massively outspent, but these simple messages of showing Obama making his endless proclamations and promises followed by the stark reality of the fiscal carnage left in their wake would be most appreciated. God bless the American people who are oft-times optimistic; unfortunately con men such as Obama and his allies have taken advantage of that trust. Thank you to Heritage for the work they do – now let's use mainstream advertising to our advantage to help further the clear message this man is a fraud.

    9. Mary......WI says:

      Whenever I read articles on Obama's failed, unscrupulous "green jobs", and there have been plenty, I cannot for the life of me figure out why some Americans are planning to vote for this horrible president in 2012!! I'm also hearing that if Ron Paul doesn't get the GOP nomination his supporters will either not vote or will vote for Obama! Where is the logic!!?? Obama has trampled all over the Constitution of the United States, and said "screw this" to the Bill of Rights. What are Americans thinking?!! ARE they thinking?! I understand the bickering among the GOP candidates is distasteful and foolish but there ARE good candidates running….and they are ALL, sans Paul, Johnson, and Huntsman in my opinion, so much better than Obama ever could be only because they truly believe in upholding the Constitution. Americans are NOT doing their homework. It's time to honestly listen to the candidates, put aside past grievances against each candidate, we are all human.

    10. Mary......WI says:

      If we end up with another 4 years of Obama it's a guarantee there will be more political cheating in dealings like Solyndra and Obama Care. It's guaranteed the USA will be lost forever and we become nothing more than another flailing European country. Is this what we want for our future generations?

    11. Oscar Manful says:

      The green revolution President Obama thought of seems real to me. The Kyoto Protocol offers up fresh and re-invigorating ways of managing fuel and protecting the environment. I think the United States should be signatory to the Kyoto Protocol. At last check, we were the only country that was not….by the way….season's greetings to one and all. This holds the promise of president Obama's green revolution.

    12. Robert says:

      Obama's promises remind me of a fellow we knew back in the 1960's. That man went through our town and sold some of the hicks a pill that could be placed in an automobile gas tank and then the user could fill up with water. By the time the suckers knew they had been had, the con man was gone and so was their money. The auto, of course, and like this nation, would never run well again.

    13. Harry Adams says:

      When will America wake up to the fact that Obama is dead set on bankrupting America. His green energy plan is years ahead of its time. The sun does'nt shine 24/7 and the wind does'nt blow 243/7. Drilling every available oil source and building the Keystone XL pipeline are immediate sources for jobs and some independence from middle east oil. How such a loser can enjoy so much support from supposedly intelligent people is a mystery to me.

    14. Gary says:

      Cloward and Pivens, installed by using the tactics of Saul Alinski. Mission almost accomplished, one more four year whack at the American Constitution and Republic and it'll be all over.

    15. Jill Maine says:

      Obviously BHO does everything he does for votes and reelection. Tell me, are there that many environmentalists out there to make it worth while alienating all the rest of us? I mean I have always been against this communist president but now he even throws the unions under the bus. I wouldn't be surprised if the tax payer money for green energy that has been lost is sitting right in BHO's war chest. You don't raise a billion dollars by 10 and 20 dollar donations.

      I also heard that if we add up all the time he has played golf during his presidency it adds up to three months. I would be willing to pay him to stay on the golf course for the remainder of his one term.

    16. @snowcloud79 says:

      Wasn't "Solyndra" a completely fabricated company set up as a front for a money laundering scheme to funnel money to Barry's reelection? How is he getting away with this?

    17. azwayne says:

      You can't call him unseccessful when he got billions from tax payers laundered millions into his campaign chests. Let's tell truths.

    18. Ron W. Smith says:

      Yes, a bad year for the Greens. It was a good year, however, for those who persist in tying America's future to petroleum–a future with a definite endgame, given all the present uses for petroleum that will drain supplies sufficiently during this century, thus allowing demand pricing to do the job "Greens " have so far failed at. Whistling past the graveyard is no solution, Mike Brownfield, just as going to war to protect distribution of supply isn't.
      Just what ARE your solutions to the problems centering on our reliance on fossil fuels?

    19. Jim says:

      news after news of things like this and his approval ratings are still waaaay too high. Some people don't get the message or just ingnore it and go on their merry way thinking Prezbo is the greatest. Oh, just make sure they get their gov't check though.

    20. bentonmarder says:

      If Obama chooses fantasy over reality, he does no worse than the voters that elected him. As we are, our country will be.

    21. toledofan says:

      It's all a shell game to control the money and the agenda. Just look back at the last three years and it's easy to see what this administration has done; made a lot of democrats wealthy or wealthier, the name Al Gore is front and center, and they have been able to develop an infastructure in Washington, the Czars, to implement policies that favor the lefts agenda and cripple America's spirit and rugged individualism. The bad news is that people still think he's doing a good job, go figure.

    22. If there's such a term as a 'disastrous success' that would be Obama! You might say that he has been successful in destroying America. His evil successes must be stopped now!

    23. Jim says:

      Three years of on-the-job training has not allowed this Administration enough time to learn that capitalism is what has made every American invention/idea germenate and grow into a profitable business, simply because the people wanted the product or service. Utilizing solar energy may one day be beneficial, but creating the industry at the expense of our precious tax dollars is not the way to successfully grow the industry. What a waste Mr. Obama! Maybe one day he may grasp the power of capitalism.

    24. Tom Ryan says:

      PUTTING PATRONAGE TO WORK

    25. allen says:

      Pres. Obama has one Billion to spend on Advertising. All the Print (mag. Newspapers, and the Left TV,Radio stations. Dont you think these News Org. will fight and cry for that kind of MONEY??. This is the reason he has a chance to be re-elected. THE Political Money. If a page of Adv. in the New Times is One million for retail adv. POLITICAL Adv. will be TWO MILLION. It's a money Game So you will see all the Nasty Pol.Adv. you will ever see or Hear. STOP READING THE Newspapers and the Left wing radio ,TV,stations That is why we have REMOTE CLICKERS. Tune'm Out. Go to the Movies,Visit the VA Hospitals.

    26. Basia says:

      Anyone that votes for Obama again DOES prefer fantasy over reality, particularly after the one scandal after another. The reality is that Obama despises currently sound and still somewhat affordable energy sources that fire the furnace of our lives and economy. If Obama had his complete way, we'd be paying triple or more for our heat, electric and gasoline just to have him teach this country a lesson. Who in their right mind would vote for a guy that does nothing but destroy jobs in this country? We need a president with REAL intellect and vision that LOVES this country rather than bash and hate it on a daily basis. Obama is a Marxist trying to force himself into a capitalist consitutional republic. Like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.

    27. Whicket Williams says:

      Why aren't we seeing Solar powered Electric plants? only one in the Us to my knowledge, an the California Nevada border . These Really work, and are economically feasible Why aren't we building LOTS if them?

    28. Dr. Henry Sinopoli says:

      As a conservative, I have no sympathy for the Republicans, they too have delved into regulating nature, as if any politician is powerful enough to do so. What is humorous is that we have so many emboldened politicians who believe they are greater that the God who made constructed our universe. Great builders all…sort of like putting Teddy Kennedy in charge of bridge building.

      Thank you Heritage – Good article

    29. Andrew Zimdahl says:

      The fossil fuel industry has been subsidized through various means for over a century and has witnessed it's fair share of corruption fueled bankruptcies. Yet, when Enron collapsed, why didn't we hear any conservatives pronouncing the fossil fuel industry to be a failure? Any true libertarian would call for the end of these subsidies immediately.

      Jobs in the solar industry, which has only been seriously subsidized for less than a decade, grew by 10 times the national rate over the past year. In fact, if the subsidies to the fossil fuel industry were completely wiped out, it would be cheaper to produce electricity through solar photovoltaic systems.

      The price of solar continues to fall significantly each year (panels are now 40% cheaper than last year). My hope is the laws of economics will soon trump the laws of entrenched dirty energy producers spouting propaganda to justify the status quo.

      • Mike Brownfield Mike Brownfield says:

        Andrew – Thanks for your comment. Heritage has called for an end to energy tax subsidies across the board. You can read more about it at: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/11/

        It remains that President Obama's green energy promises have not lived up to reality. That's not propaganda — that's the facts. And you don't have to take our word for it — just look at the reports I cite above from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

    30. kaydell says:

      In your article you said that Obama's programs are just bad policy and good politics. I whole agree compeletly. We have to get the message out there is no more money in the coffers and to go down this road the American people will reap the whirlwind from the seeds that have been sown.

    31. Bob says:

      This "policy" was developed in the Center for American Progress. Media coverage never mentions the WH adviser/energy czar Carol Browner who was meeting with the campaign bundlers/venture capitalists like Kaiser and Steve Spinner who was ramming it through DOE as a bundler/green tech venture capitalist/special adviser/spouse of law firm partner for Solyndra. Both Browner and Spinner were fellows at CAP for this policy and suddenly left the WH, DOE and the Center of American Progress. Why did they go to ground? When are they going to testify before Congress? Was the stimulus just a slush fund for this group?

    32. Janiece Hamblen says:

      Ha ha ha! Hope it continues. Still angry at Obama and Gore for giving one of my favorite color (green) such a bad name! Why don't they call their movement "yellow". It would be more appropriate. They are promoting a lie and, unfortunately, the American people swallow it hook, line and sinker. The great outcome of public school indoctrination (rather than education).

    33. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      You mean Obama's green nightmare.

    34. Ed Gallagher says:

      Green Energy is a myth, like Green Jobs. The myopic flat earth lunatics that are pushing this agenda are more interesting in controlling human nature than human production. The 6-8ppm of man caused atmospheric C02 out of 389ppm can hardly be the cause of rapid climate change if it were in fact happening. We are simply seeing natural repetitive cyclical climate change. The earth has seen both warmer and colder times and will continue to. The efforts by the climate alarmists to actually change the makeup of the climate would be laughable if they were using their own money to do so.

    35. Mary E. Unterkoefler says:

      How many times did President Obama not take the advice of his Generals?

    36. Wayne Peterkin says:

      Mike Brownfield is becoming a hero of mine. His articles are excellent! The entire "Green Energy" push is and has been a hoax. There is no such thing, at least in the near term. Ethanol is a bad joke, reducing fuel economy while bilking taxpayers for billions in subsidies, and is nothing but a huge additional subsidy for some farmers while raising food costs and creating food shortages. Solar power is impractical in generating the volumes of power needed to run this nation and its unreliable. Wind power costs too much to be competitive. I have asked wind supporters how much one megawatt costs to produce and how many turbines does it take to generate, and am waiting for an answer. We have had the correct answers to our energy needs for years now but refuse to embrace them.

    37. Whistle's Daddy says:

      Obama is not really president of the United States. He is a hollow shell thrust upon us by the Democrats. He will not go to the bathroom without asking his "anonymous boss". Who is it? Soros? Does anyone know? Does anyone care? If the Dems go back in we will loose these United States forever to socialism, or some other "ism". The media no longer flinches when they lie for the Left. They are a huge part of the problem. What must we do? Impeach Obama and Biden. We are in a genuine constitutional crisis. The President and all his hoodlums have violated their oaths of office. They should lose those offices.

    38. Cliff says:

      There is a "domino effect" with jobs. The loss of jobs in one sector causes job loss in others. Therefore, how many other jobs were lost when the 1100 lost theirs at Solyndra?

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